3rd July 2024

Hydrogen Valleys are geographical areas where clean hydrogen is produced and locally used by households, local transportation and industrial plants. Hydrogen Valleys are the cornerstones of a viable hydrogen economy and are listed on the Mission Innovation Hydrogen Valley Platform that was launched in 2021, with 21 valleys in Europe. The counter currently stands at 98 valleys globally with 67 located in the EU. Out of the European Hydrogen Valleys, 17 have received support from the EU research and innovation programmes totalling EUR 262 million.

Mission Innovation map of Hydrogen Valleys (from https://h2v.eu/hydrogen-valleys)

The European Commission published Towards a roadmap for accelerating the deployment of Hydrogen Valleys across Europe: challenges and opportunities. This is a working document which outlines the strategic priorities and actions that are currently ongoing or planned to support the development of Hydrogen Valleys:

  • The Commission will support a ‘Hydrogen Valley Facility’ through the Clean Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, a public-private partnership under Horizon Europe, to help early-stage Hydrogen Valleys mature to the point where they can start construction.
  • Building on the recently relaunched European Hydrogen Observatory, a new Clean Hydrogen Knowledge Hub will provide stakeholders with the information they require, allowing for automated data analysis and reporting to support knowledge-based decision making.
  • Following the recent revision of the Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan, the Commission will work closely with Member States and stakeholders to implement the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) of the ERA Pilot on Green Hydrogen.
  • The Commission has approved four successive waves of hydrogen Integrated Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEIs).
  • Together, these initiatives aim to raise over EUR 43 billion from a blend of public and private funds, supporting more than 120 projects involving nearly 100 European companies.
  • European Hydrogen Academy has been launched in January 2024, with an EU contribution of EUR 3 million. The European Commission intends to transform it into a European Net-Zero Industry Academy as announced in the Net-Zero Industry Act, providing a broad portfolio of education, training and reskilling.
  • The Commission will intensify the cooperation with international partners on clean hydrogen deployment and the development of hydrogen markets, in particular through the Clean Hydrogen Mission under Mission Innovation.
  • REPowerEU, the EU scheme aiming to reduce Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels, has topped up the contribution from Horizon Europe to the Clean Hydrogen Joint Undertaking with EUR 200 million to accelerate the roll-out of Hydrogen Valleys across Europe. The additional EUR 200 million invested by the Commission in the Clean Hydrogen Joint Undertaking is being used to boost the support to Hydrogen Valleys across Europe.

The proposed ‘Hydrogen Valley Facility’ is aimed at accelerating the number of Hydrogen Valleys in Europe. The facility, funded through Horizon Europe and implemented by the Clean Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, will include project development assistance to support Hydrogen Valleys at various levels of maturity. Whilst the focus will be on EU Members States and countries associated to Horizon Europe, such project development assistance may inform also the support to renewable hydrogen development in partner countries. In addition, it will include activities aiming to ensure that the knowledge gathered, and the lessons learnt from Hydrogen Valleys (including skills) are retained, collected, analysed and widely disseminated and used in a structured and efficient way. The Facility will also be used to maintain and update the Hydrogen Valley Platform.

The working document highlights the need for training and education are to increase the number of skilled people to realise the development of the Hydrogen Valleys, including for regulators and local administrations implementing permitting rules. As part of the policy priorities of the Pact for Skills, the new European Hydrogen Academy has been set up, coordinated by the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague. It will last for 54 months, having kicked-off last January 2024, and funded with an EU contribution of EUR 3 million from Horizon Europe. The consortium counts with 17 members and the project focuses on 200 occupational projects, aiming to produce university-type courses, facilitate the reskilling and upskilling of workers and create a network of schools and higher education institutions. National initiatives are also being set up to train workforce or scholars in the field of hydrogen technology.

While originally being a European research and innovation concept, Hydrogen Valleys are now spreading across the globe. The Clean Hydrogen Mission under Mission Innovation is a global cooperation forum for interested governments and that is co-led by the Commission, and has set the target of developing 100 Hydrogen Valleys across the globe by 2030. Given the closer interlink with deployment, they could be developed in cooperation with the Clean Energy Ministerial H2 initiative. As the global hydrogen market develops, it will be important to connect Hydrogen Valleys. Cooperation on Hydrogen Valleys outside the EU may take place with international partners on renewable hydrogen deployment and the development of hydrogen markets, in accordance with the EU policy priorities and legislation.

View Hydrogen Valleys working document here.

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