The funding includes €7bn to promote and develop hydrogen technologies in Germany, and €2bn to develop international partnerships. Transport has been identified as one of the target sectors for the strategy, alongside the steel and chemical industries and the heating sector.

The government will support the development of hydrogen technologies to allow them to be proven to the market, based on an open technology approach. The funding will focus on “green” hydrogen, produced using renewable energy, instead of “grey” hydrogen that still produces emissions during production.

The strategy has been welcomed by both the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV) and the German Transport Forum (DVF).

The funds will support private investments in the economic and sustainable production, transport and use of hydrogen. This includes:

  • ambitious implementation of the EU Renewable Energy Directive, aiming to replace grey hydrogen with green hydrogen
  • the promotion of electrolysers, which breaks down water into hydrogen and oxygen
  • the promotion of the expanded use of hydrogen
  • launching a “Hydrogen Technology 2030” research offensive that includes the transport sector
  • investment and operating grants for the production of hydrogen and when switching to climate-friendly industrial processes
  • strengthening and further development of the necessary infrastructure
  • exempting the production of green hydrogen from the EEG levy, and
  • the expansion of international partnerships, including in the construction and operation of plants for the production of green hydrogen.

Federal transport minister, Mr Andreas Scheuer, says he expects the strategy will initially result in a rapid introduction of hydrogen drives in buses and trucks.

Morocco has already been selected by German development minister, Mr Gerd Müller, as the first country to benefit under the international partnership aspect of the strategy. “Together with Morocco, we are now developing the first industrial plant for green hydrogen in Africa,” he says.

The federal government has set in place a number of structures to manage the strategy, including the appointment of a National Hydrogen Council, an interdepartmental Secretary of State Committee for Hydrogen and the “Green Hydrogen” innovation officer from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Germany hosted the world’s first hydrogen-powered passenger train, after Alstom launched the Coradia iLint in Lower Saxony in September 2018.