On 10 March 2020, the European Commission presented “A New Industrial Strategy for Europe”, setting out the key drivers of Europe’s industrial transformation and including measures to modernise and decarbonise energy-intensive industries, support sustainable and smart mobility industries, promotion of energy efficiency, strengthen current carbon leakage tools and secure a sufficient and constant supply of low-carbon energy at competitive prices.
As the strategy is stating that The European Green Deal is Europe’s new growth strategy, the competitiveness aspect is crucial, mostly with regards of the twin digital and energy transition towards climate neutrality by 2050 and, as stated by FuelsEurope in its Clean Fuels for All communication, the European refining industry supports the same climate-neutral ambitions.
Every effort to mobilise the financial sector in accelerating the move towards a prosperous, competitive and sustainable Europe in 2050 is welcomed and we believe that a competitive transformation should be possible. The EU industry will need the right enabling framework conditions as well as the need of clear, long-term signals to guide investors.
The Hydrogen economy and the Smart sector integration
The Industrial strategy called for a comprehensive strategy addressing all carriers of energy in order to power a climate-neutral economy, including electricity, gas and liquid fuels, which resulted in two separate documents: the energy system integration and the clean hydrogen strategies.
As it is stated in A hydrogen strategy for a climate-neutral Europe “hydrogen [is] essential to support the EU’s commitment to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 and for the global effort”. Most importantly, hydrogen has been proved to be an effective energy carrier to decarbonise the hard-to-decarbonise sectors. This is also the reason why FuelsEurope welcomes the recognition in both the European Hydrogen Strategy and the Energy System Integration that sustainable liquid biofuels and hydrogen-derived synthetic fuels will play an essential role in the decarbonisation of transport. Moreover, we value the mention of carbon sinks technologies such as Carbon Capture Storage and Utilization as important contributors to a climate-neutral energy system.
Refineries have a prominent role in the hydrogen value chain, as large users of hydrogen, and producers of hydrogen during the manufacturing process of fuels, supplemented by dedicated hydrogen production plants.
The European refining industry is developing various low-carbon solutions, from low-carbon fuels to sustainably improving industrial processes, all the while providing affordable solutions to mobility, EU citizens, and the industrial value chains, making a critical contribution to the EU’s 2050 climate-neutrality objective. We recommend that any measures taken after the publication of the New Industrial Strategy for Europe should consider all solutions that contribute to meeting the EU energy, environmental, climate and circular economy goals in order to ensure a technology-neutral approach and a level-playing field.