EEB Policy Brief: A sustainable hydrogen strategy for the EU

In this policy brief, EEB explores the challenges related to the environmental and economic sustainability of renewable hydrogen production and use. Building on the results from the Paris Agreement-compatible (PAC) scenario, they outline specific policy recommendations to guide the deployment of renewable hydrogen in Europe through different EU policy files.


The production, transportation, and use of hydrogen come with significant environmental impacts and pose risks of carbon lock-in. In addition, high production costs, uncertain technology uptake, and intrinsic inefficiencies of hydrogen as an energy vector highlight how to direct use of renewable electricity is preferable for most end uses – especially domestic heating and light-duty transport.

Within this policy brief, European Environmental Bureau (EEB) proposes that renewable hydrogen is set to play a role in the decarbonisation of industrial and transport applications where direct electrification is not possible. Stringent criteria must be adopted to ensure that renewable electricity used to produce hydrogen comes from additional renewable generation capacity and does not compete with the decarbonisation of the energy system. Clustering hydrogen production and consumption are key to minimising infrastructure needs.


By complementing renewables-based electrification, improved circularity and energy efficiency, and adoption of energy sufficiency, renewable hydrogen will play an ancillary role in the decarbonisation of the European energy system. Besides ensuring strict sustainability criteria, regulatory instrument and financial support must be strategically directed towards targeted and indispensable investments in no-regret hydrogen uses and a dedicated, small-scale hydrogen infrastructure.



Cosimo Tansini

+32 2 289 10 90