Waste-to-Hydrogen: a valid tool to help decarbonize the EU industry

The proposal for a new “EU hydrogen and gas markets decarbonization package” rightly seizes the urgency of up-taking all available solutions, especially renewable and low-carbon hydrogen, to speed up Europe’s decarbonization efforts.

More support towards hydrogen generation will allow the EU industrial sector to shift away from fossil fuels, including natural gas, in the years to come. Waste-to-Energy plants demonstrate that they can be part of the picture, as they are able to generate hydrogen from non-recyclable waste.

“Waste-to-Energy is an essential feature of the EU waste management framework, as it treats non-recyclable waste that would otherwise be landfilled,” says Kai Lieball, chairman of the European Suppliers of Waste to Energy Technology (ESWET) Working Group on Waste-to-Hydrogen.

“The Hydrogen generated by Waste-to-Energy plants has the unique feature of being partly renewable and partly low-carbon, and comes with the advantage of being produced in urban areas in proximity to consumers. That’s why we strongly support Waste-to-Hydrogen as an interesting option for waste management to support the decarbonization of the EU economy while reinforcing the Circular Economy”. 

Waste-to-Hydrogen generation is already up and running in Wuppertal, Germany. There, the Waste-to-Energy plant is able to generate enough hydrogen to power 20 public transport buses (with a goal of 70 buses by 2025), contributing to the decarbonization of heavy transport vehicles, and avoiding particle emissions. Thanks to this process, it is estimated that the city of Wuppertal already saves more than 700 tons of CO2 per year.

In the same direction, the Waste-to-Energy plant in Créteil, Paris will start a production and distribution capacity of 500 kg/day of hydrogen by the end of 2022, with plans to move towards a capacity of one tonne of hydrogen per day. The hydrogen will fuel heavy vehicles such as public buses and household waste trucks.

A recent study by Ecoprog and CEWEP shows that the interest in hydrogen is high in the Waste-to-Hydrogen market. Around 90% of the EU Waste-to-Energy operators interviewed declared they are either already considering plans for production or following the topic closely.

This attitude follows the expected high-demand across sectors in Europe for renewable and low-carbon hydrogen in the following years and proves Waste-to-Energy’s rightful aim to be at the forefront of decarbonization strategies.