Properties and occurrence

Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe.


It is the lightest chemical element, a colorless, odorless gas, poorly soluble in water, which normally appears as the H2 molecular form. At 0⁰C and 1 atm. is 14.4 times lighter than air. From the point of view of potential storage the low critical hydrogen temperature (-239,9⁰C) is an important parameter, which makes condensation of this gas more difficult than liquefaction of air or most other gases.


It causes serious difficulties in hydrogen storage and transport, and basically we can only compress it to a very high pressure of up to 700 atm nowadays. The unique property of hydrogen is its considerable solubility in some metals. At high temperatures, it dissolves in: platinum, nickel, iron, copper. On one hand, it is a chance to increase the capacity of hydrogen tanks, but can also be a serious problem related to the so-called hydrogen corrosion, such as penetration of hydrogen molecules into the metal structure. It has a significant impact on the durability of e.g. metal reactors and tanks. Currently, multi-layer composite tanks are used to prevent the phenomenon of hydrogen penetrating the walls of the tanks. Intensive research is  conducted to find the most effective hydrogen storage way.


The main sources of hydrogen are: water and organic compounds, mainly based on carbon and hydrogen atoms. So obtaining pure hydrogen requires the use of an appropriate portion of energy.


Fit for 55

Today, the Council adopted a regulation and a directive establishing common internal market rules for renewable and natural gases and hydrogen and reforming the existing EU gas legislation.


The new rules will help make the shift to renewable and low-carbon gases, in particular hydrogen, in the energy system, with a view to achieving the EU’s decarbonisation targets.


Designing the gas and hydrogen market
The gas package sets out solid rules for the organisation of the natural gas market and establishes a strong framework for the development of the future hydrogen market, including for dedicated hydrogen infrastructure. It contains specific rules for the transport, supply and storage of natural gas and hydrogen.


The new rules call for integrated and transparent network planning across the EU, under the principle of ‘energy efficiency first’ and with a forward-looking approach. Gas and hydrogen network operators will prepare a 10-year EU network development plan.


This texts also paves the way for a permanent demand aggregation platform.



Switching to renewable gas
In order to ensure the phase-out of fossil fuels, long-term contracts for fossil gas will no longer be concluded as of 2049. The new rules promote the penetration of renewable gas and low-carbon gas, in particular hydrogen in coal and carbon-intensive regions. Member states will provide for tariff discounts and incentives, in order to facilitate their market and system integration, especially for the nascent hydrogen market, and so to ensure a just transition.

A voluntary mechanism will also be set up to support the hydrogen market for five years.



Protecting customers from energy poverty
Vulnerable customers and customers affected by energy poverty will be better protected thanks to the new rules adopted today, which include a focus on remote areas. Measures by member states include protection from disconnections and appointing suppliers of last resort to ensure continuity of supply.



Next steps
The regulation and the directive will now be signed and published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

The regulation will become directly applicable six months after its publication.


As regards the directive, member states will have two years to adapt their national legislation to the provisions of the directive.



The hydrogen and decarbonised gas markets package is part of the Fit for 55 batch of legislation and aims to update the existing regulation and directive on gas adopted in 2009.


The updated regulation and directive, both formally adopted today, were put forward as a proposal by the Commission on 15 December 2021.


Negotiations with the European Parliament on the final shape of the texts started on 1 June 2023. A final deal on the directive was reached on 27 November and on the regulation on 8 December 2023.


Source: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/pl/press/press-releases/2024/05/21/fit-for-55-council-signs-off-on-gas-and-hydrogen-market-package/ 

Cluster coordinator Regional Pomeranian Chamber of Commerce

Grunwaldzka 82
80-244 Gdansk, Poland

+48 882 430 983