The EU-wide system of Guarantee of Origin (GO) for hydrogen from renewables

Interview mit CertifHy’s project coordinator Wouter Vanhoudt, HINICIO

The CertifHy project aims to establish a European GO-system for Green and Low carbon Hydrogen. After concluding its design and development cycle, CertifHy has entered its pilot phase. As an experienced service provider for Guarantees of Origin (GOs), Green Energy and Climate Neutrality, Bischoff & Ditze Energy is one of the participants of this pilot phase. We have interviewed CertifHy’s project coordinator Wouter Vanhoudt about the state of the implementation:

BDE: What is the overall goal of the CertifHy project?

Wouter Vanhoudt:The project’s aim is to promote the first EU-wide Guarantee of Origin (GO) scheme for Green and Low carbon Hydrogen by means of a pilot demonstration. A Stakeholder Platform is shall support the scheme´s development process. For this purpose, a consortium composed of ECN, GREXEL, Ludwig Bölkow System Technik (LBST), TÜV SÜD, led by HINICIO and financed by the FCH 2 JU was established.


BDE: Who else is taking part in the project?

Wouter Vanhoudt: During the first phase of the CertifHy project, it already had a solid backing comprised of 14 organisations and more than 500 stakeholders, who represent industry, government, NGOs and civil society. The CertifHy Stakeholder Platform unites members from various affected sectors, who participate actively in a step-by-step consulting process. I’m greatly satisfied that we have the opportunity to collaborate closely with more than 650 stakeholders, who represent the European market and that we can help create a GO-system that is serviceable for all parties. In order to introduce an advanced system, four pilot projects located in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and France will demonstrate different hydrogen production processes and utilization strategies of CertifHy GOs.


BDE: Who are the intended users and end users of the system?

Wouter Vanhoudt: The system is addressing all actors across the value chain: from the point of production down to the consumer. By using the CertifiHy GO-system, consumers of hydrogen will have the full spectrum of choices available, be it for mobility, industrial use or energy use. Thus, it becomes apparent that GOs are a core element of the Energy Union: they sustain customer empowerment.

BDE: What is a Guarantee of origin for Green and Low Carbon Hydrogen and how does it work?

Wouter Vanhoudt: A Guarantee of Origin (GO) provides customers with information about the origin of the product that they are getting. The Green and Low Carbon Hydrogen GO system decouples the green attribute from the physical flow of the product, similar to the existing renewable electricity GO scheme. Thus, Green and Low Carbon Hydrogen will be available EU-wide, independently from its production sites. This ensures an efficient and reliable EU-wide usage of Green Hydrogen.

© CertifHy

BDE: What are the next steps to reach that goal?

Wouter Vanhoudt: Within the next 12-18 months, the CertifHy project will define the scheme’s governance, as well as its processes and procedures over the entire GO life cycle: from auditing hydrogen production plants, certification of Green and Low Carbon Hydrogen production batches through issuing and trading.


BDE: How far have you already come?

Wouter Vanhoudt: Between 2014 and 2016, the CertifHy project developed a Europe-wide definition of Green Hydrogen, a hydrogen GO scheme and an implementation roadmap. To prepare the final GO-scheme, the phase that begins now is about gaining knowledge from testing the EU-wide Green and Low Carbon GOs scheme by implementing the pilot projects.


BDE: What can I use Green Hydrogen for?

Wouter Vanhoudt: Green Hydrogen is produced with a minimal impact on natural resources. Using Green hydrogen will allow consumers to increase the renewable share of their feedstock and reduce GHG emissions at the same time. This holds potential for various industries like the (petro-) chemical, steel, semiconductor, food processing, glass producing and the transportation industries. Great opportunities are indicated, as it is expected that 50-60% of all hydrogen for the growing market of transportation will originate from renewable or low-carbon sources by 2030.


BDE: Are there different kind of qualities?

Wouter Vanhoudt: The GO-scheme will classify the hydrogen into two qualities: CertifHy Green or Low Carbon hydrogen. The classification will depend on the feedstock used as well as the efficiency of the production process. CertifHy Green Hydrogen refers to hydrogen generated by the use of renewable energy inducing carbon emissions below the market-relevant benchmark. CertifHy Low Carbon Hydrogen will be generated by non-renewable energy with emissions below the same threshold.


BDE: What do I have to do, if I want to offer Green Hydrogen to my customers?

Wouter Vanhoudt: Hydrogen producers that provide Green and Low Carbon Hydrogen can register their plant in the GO system. An auditor will validate the batch and issue GOs that are ready for trade. Traders will then have the opportunity to trade GOs on the market.


BDE: What is your take on the future of Green and Low Carbon Hydrogen?

Wouter Vanhoudt: The energy transition is in progress and hydrogen energy is one of the bricks necessary to reach the decarbonisation goals of the Paris Agreement. As an energy carrier or chemical feedstock, hydrogen allows decarbonizing various industries. It can also be utilized as an energy storage solution for energy from peaks of intermittent renewable energy sources. CertifHy GOs are the key to developing the hydrogen market, improving business cases, empowering consumers and creating market pull. Hydrogen will be of central importance for the energy transition and for the energy system in general.

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