Norway announces Norwegian Hydrogen Strategy

Following its announcement of a NOK 3.6bn (£300mn) Green Package on 29 May, Norway has published a further document on 3 June outlining its Norwegian Hydrogen Strategy which is designed to set-out a roadmap for research, development and roll-out of future hydrogen applications and infrastructure.

Norway has set an emissions reduction target of 50 to 55 percent by 2030 and 90 to 95 percent by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. Transport, industry and mining account for more than 50% of Norway’s total carbon emissions. Norway expects that a focus on hydrogen development could have positive effects on driving down emissions in these sectors and fuelling a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In its Green Package, it has included remit for research and development in areas including hydrogen, batteries, energy efficiency, offshore wind and green shipping, amongst others. Alongside this in its Energy21 Strategy, its national strategy for research, development and commercialisation of low-carbon technology, hydrogen is outlined as a recommended focus area.

In its Hydrogen Strategy, Norway outlines primary application of the green fuel to be in transport and industrial processes. Three main institutions will continue to manage and encourage the adoption of hydrogen. These institutions are The Norwegian Research Council, Innovation Norway and Enova which are all focused on research and development of cost-effective methods and values chains for production, transportation and storage of hydrogen.

The strategy outlines two primary methods for zero-carbon hydrogen production. These are natural gas reformation and electrolysis (Figure 1). In producing hydrogen using natural gas, it will be required to invest in carbon, capture and storage (CCS) in order to prevent emission of carbon dioxide as a by-product. It is also focused on the production of hydrogen through electrolysis in water. This option is deemed ‘greener’ with Norway having already been successful in decarbonising its energy supply and with the only by-product being oxygen. However, current electrolysis applications of hydrogen are inefficient and expensive. In order to facilitate growth of this technology, Norway has announced exemption from electricity tax for power delivered through electrolysis and additional funding for research and development of the technology.

In transport, the government is seeking to apply a VAT exemption for all hydrogen fuel cell vehicles purchased until 2023. In addition, it will pledge an additional NOK 20mn (£1.67mn) investment towards hydrogen-powered speedboats, for which it has invested NOK 100mn (£8.34mn) to date. It will also look to complete a thorough mapping exercise of maritime route traffic connections in order to determine where to appropriately invest in hydrogen infrastructure and encourage hydrogen vessel adoption.

Norway’s hydrogen strategy is part of some great first steps in Europe for facilitating hydrogen production, although the nation has been investing in and supporting hydrogen development for around a decade now. Nevertheless, European nations will be looking on to see that hydrogen is being taken seriously in Norway and should form an essential part in its decarbonisation ambitions.

Norway Government