Werner Ponikwar

The German Hydrogen Acceleration Law: An Important Step Forward To Reach Our Ambitious Hydrogen Goals

The German Federal Government proposed a law to speed up the deployment of green hydrogen projects, the so-called “Wasserstoffbeschleunigungsgesetz” – or Hydrogen Acceleration Law. It is an important step to scale up our green hydrogen economy and make deploying generation capacity easier. However, we cannot rely on this law alone to reach our ambitious green hydrogen targets. If Germany wants to achieve 10 gigawatts of electrolysis capacity by 2030, we will have to get serious about scaling our projects and the underlying technology.

Germany and the wider European Union have yet to see tangible results from their ambitions. So far, the EU has only managed to bring one gigawatts of electrolysis capacity per year to either the final investment decision stage or towards actual construction. In Germany, we have only seen real financial commitments for 0.25 gigawatts in 2022 and 2023, respectively, with a little more than 0.1 gigawatts currently operational. That is just over 1% of the targeted capacity for 2030.1 It is time we bridge this gap between ambition and implementation.


To achieve this, we need to tackle three challenges simultaneously: First, to bring more existing project plans towards real-world application faster – this is where the new law comes in. Second, to turn our ambitions towards projects at gigawatt rather than megawatt scale. And third, to keep pushing the boundaries of what our electrolyzer technology can achieve.

Speeding Up Our Deployment

As a company with deep expertise in deploying hydrogen technologies, we know that the road from project planning via approval processes to execution is fraught with complexities. The proposed Hydrogen Acceleration Law is a promising step forward to address these on-the-ground challenges. If passed by parliament, it would give hydrogen projects priority in legal considerations and approval procedures by classifying them as projects of paramount public interest and with security relevance. It would streamline legal processes and digitize bureaucratic procedures. This will make it easier and cheaper to realize projects and serve to support domestic hydrogen production. Time will tell if the measures are sufficient, some details need to be discussed and there may be adjustments during the parliamentary process, but the draft law is an important step forward.


Turning Our Ambitions Towards the Gigawatt Scale

However, making projects easier to realize will not be enough to achieve our targets. We have to increase our ambitions if we want to transition towards a more sustainable economic model while keeping our industrial base. Hydrogen is key to decarbonizing processes from producing steel to fueling chemical plants. The projects being planned and funded today are too small in scale to rise to this challenge, they only add megawatts where we will need gigawatts. And we know it is possible to scale up: Other countries are increasingly moving into this direction, some with thyssenkrupp nucera technology. Drawing on this experience, we believe it is time for Germany to shift its crucial support towards more ambitious projects rather than small-scale demonstrators. The technology is ready – we now need to be bold and exploit economies of scale.

Keeping Our Technological Lead

At the same time, with today’s technologies ready to scale our generation capacity, we should never forget that we are not at the end of what is possible. Electrolyzer technology will continue to evolve rapidly and drive economic growth. Our industry will keep pushing for more efficient, less resource-intensive technologies. We at thyssenkrupp nucera recently partnered with the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS and invested in solid oxide electrolyzer cell (SOEC) development because we believe the technology will be another important building block for hydrogen technologies made in Germany. Research and development, as well as their funding through government programs, are crucial to keep our technological edge. Germany and the wider Europe are leaders in our field, we should make sure it stays that way.


If we want to meet our ambitious hydrogen generation goals, stay at the forefront of the transition towards a sustainable economy and profit from the growth it will spur, we need to act now. The Hydrogen Acceleration Law will be an important step forward, but it will only be one step. More big leaps need to follow. With our leading technology and our deep expertise, we at thyssenkrupp nucera look forward to playing a decisive role in this challenge of a century.