Dutch earmark $400 mln for green hydrogen development

AMSTERDAM, April 9 (Reuters) - The Netherlands aims to invest up to 338 million euros ($401 million) in green hydrogen projects as part of its push to meet climate goals, the Dutch government said on Friday.

The money, part of a 20 billion euro fund the government announced last year to strengthen the Dutch economy, will finance projects aimed at stimulating the production of green hydrogen, and finding ways to use the fuel in industry.

Green hydrogen is extracted from water via electrolysis powered by renewable energy, theoretically releasing no carbon emissions either in its production or consumption.

The government fund announced in 2020 will be distributed over the next five years to support education, infrastructure, and research and development projects.

A sum of 3.7 billion euros from the fund was earmarked on Friday for infrastructure spending and for funding research in quantum computing, artificial intelligence and healthcare innovation.

The European Union has made hydrogen a key part of its roadmap to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, with plans to install 40 gigawatts of green hydrogen-producing electrolysers this decade.

But the development of green hydrogen is in a very early phase, and the costs of making it are still too high to compete with fossil fuels without government subsidies.

Various ambitious green hydrogen projects, including large electrolysers, have been announced in the Netherlands in recent years, but all are still waiting for a final investment decision.

Home to many large industries and Europe’s main seaport, the Netherlands is among the countries with the highest emissions of greenhouse gasses per capita in Europe.

It aims to cut emissions by 55% relative to 1990 levels by 2030. Emissions were down 24.5% from 1990 levels in last year.

$1 = 0.8426 euros Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Jan Harvey