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Hydrogen applications

Prioritisation criteria

15 June 2022

Germany faces the challenge of maintaining its industry while transitioning to climate neutrality by 2045. Hydrogen technologies have an important role to play here: they have the potential to decarbonise and at the same time open up new opportunities for added value.

One of the challenges of the hydrogen ramp-up in Germany is to get its large-scale production and use up and running at the same time. In the ramp-up phase, with the foreseeable scarcity of climate-friendly hydrogen, there are uncertainties as to whether, when and to what extent hydrogen should be used in certain areas - and what this implies for political action.

Against this background, we organised a half-day virtual workshop during which 10 to 15 experts discussed which criteria could be applied for the prioritisation of hydrogen use in a first phase of the market ramp-up. How would a prioritisation fit within the framework of political decisions? In the workshop, we gave thought to a scenario of targeted hydrogen demand-side support for the market ramp-up.

The workshop as part of the H2-Compass stakeholder dialogue

We organised a total of four workshops, with the first one on import criteria held in April 2022. The second workshop in June 2022 focused on political levers and measures suitable for supporting business models based on domestic hydrogen production.

The third workshop, also held in June 2022, was dedicated to the prioritisation of hydrogen applications. The fourth workshop on perception and expectation management in September 2022 concluded the series.

With our workshop series, we continued the stakeholder dialogue initiated in the fall of 2021 with our survey 'Goals and Paths to the Hydrogen Economy 2030/2050'. Around 600 experts from academia, business, civil society and public administration took part in the survey. In October 2022, we organised a major stakeholder conference in order to further reflect on the workshop results.

This is what participants of the workshop "Prioritisation of hydrogen applications" had to say:

"The workshop on prioritising hydrogen applications was a good opportunity for objective discussion across industry and sector boundaries on this important topic. It is clear that the steel industry is dependent on climate-neutral hydrogen for its decarbonisation. At the same time, hydrogen use in steel offers the greatest lever for climate change mitigation and is an opportunity for a rapid hydrogen ramp-up."

"Hydrogen is a complementary pillar of climate change mitigation in addition to direct electrification. The workshop showed that hydrogen has its raison d'être in all sectors. We should therefore keep the door open for its widespread use. At the same time, the availability of hydrogen must be massively increased via the expansion of domestic electrolysis capacities and the import of renewable energies."

"The ramp-up of the hydrogen economy is a crucial prerequisite for the industrial Ruhr Metropolitan Region’s net-zero transition. The prioritisation of hydrogen applications must be thought across sectors and should serve to jump at the chance of deep emissions reductions. The workshop offered the opportunity to bring aspects of one of Germany's largest industrial clusters into the discussion on the path towards a hydrogen roadmap."


H2-Compass is a project of acatech and DECHEMA. The project is funded by BMBF and BMWK.