On 13 February 2023, European Commission announced new rules to define what will constitute renewable hydrogen for the EU. They make crucial reading for those planning or considering hydrogen projects in the future, including in non-EU countries.

Two delegated acts (the “Acts”) were proposed under the recast Renewable Energy Directive, which in 2018 introduced new provisions to promote the use of renewable liquid and gaseous transport fuels (such as hydrogen) of non-biological origin ("RFNBOs"). The Acts set out the conditions in which hydrogen, hydrogen-based fuels and other energy carriers will be considered to be of renewable origin; and the methodology to calculate Green House Gas emissions savings from RFNBOs and recycled carbon fuels, taking into account the full lifecycle of emissions. Crucially, these conditions envisage that hydrogen will be able to meet renewable requirements if supplied from grid power in regions that meet a low C02 emissions limit - and thus derived from nuclear sources - if the hydrogen producer has in place renewables power purchase agreements and certain other conditions are met.

These requirements should be considered by all energy producers – including those outside the EU, to the extent that they wish to export renewable hydrogen to the EU to count towards the European renewables targets.  They will also be of interest to renewable hydrogen project developers interested in the latest call for the EU Innovation Fund, which has a dedicated budget of EUR 1 billion available for projects supporting renewable hydrogen and electrification in industry.

The Acts will now be submitted to the European Parliament and Council for approval over the coming months.