Charting pathways to enable net zero

The Hydrogen for Europe study is the result of a cross-sectoral, technology neutral research project charting potential pathways for hydrogen to contribute to the EU’s goal of net zero GHG emissions. Applying innovative and proven modelling, the study supports the realization of EU targets for 2030 and 2050 by assessing which mix of hydrogen technologies can best contribute to the EU’s current and future energy landscape – and what support is needed to enable this.


Key findings

Key role

Hydrogen plays a key role in unlocking renewable energy integration

Risen demand

Ambitious decarbonisation targets raise European hydrogen demand up to three times higher than the EU’s Hydrogen Strategy objectives.

System cost

A stronger renewable push represents a total system cost of an additional 70 billion per year compared to a technology diversity scenario.


European hydrogen production and use can grow dramatically, with both low-carbon and renewable hydrogen necessary to enable a fast, lower risk and more cost-effective pathway to net zero. A mix of hydrogen types will be needed regardless of the policy path chosen.

Policy support

The uptake of both renewable and low-carbon hydrogen requires simultaneous development across the value chain, with policy support required to spur the investments needed to unlock hydrogen’s full potential.

Dedicated infrastructure

The development of the hydrogen value chain relies on a dedicated energy infrastructure that includes transport and distribution of hydrogen, storage and refuelling options, and connects supply and demand.


Hydrogen for Europe explores two pathways for a mix of hydrogen technologies to be deployed across sectors in Europe. Both pathways depart from current EU decarbonization targets of 55% by 2030 and climate neutrality by 2050.


The Technology Diversification Pathway is based on already approved national targets and assumes no obstacles to the deployment of different technologies, as well as perfect market foresight on investment decisions. This pathway considers an array of decarbonisation technologies, deployed as needed, which allows for the de-risking of investments through the creation of a more competitive and efficient zero carbon energy system.


The Renewable Push Pathway prioritises the deployment of renewable energy through increased targets (beyond current policy goals) on the share of renewable in gross final energy consumption by 2050. While this pathway does not result in significant changes in consumption patterns, it sees a key role for hydrogen in helping to absorb, store, and transport the additional energy resulting from higher renewables generation. Results for each pathway are generated using three scientific models considering system lifecycle (MIRET-EU), costs and investments (Integrate Europe) as well as external competition (Hydrogen Pathway Exploration).



The MIRET-EU model encompasses the entire lifecycle of an energy system, from primary resource to utilisation. This model is well suited to help decision makers as it provides data over medium to long-term time horizons and can easily contribute to energy roadmaps by providing clear information on technologies and fuels in all sectors based on data and actual knowledge. This model allows for great flexibility, it can take environmental emissions into account, as well as almost all policies at all levels.

Integrate Europe

Integrate Europe is a cost-minimisation and investment optimisation model for energy-systems that brings available energy to users in the best economic way possible while complying with environmental targets. This model promotes early investment in promising technologies, even if they are not competitive yet in the market, as it recognises that this is key to driving costs down.


HyPE provides the MIRET-EU and Integrate Europe models with low-carbon and renewable hydrogen imports from EU neighbours. This model represents competition between domestically produce hydrogen and imports and is in line with the EU hydrogen strategy, which focuses on clean hydrogen trade and highlights the potential partnership with Southern and Eastern Neighbourhood countries.

Launch Event

On July 7th, the Hydrogen4EU consortium organised the webinar “Charting pathways to enable net-zero, what role for Hydrogen?” based on the Hydrogen for Europe study published 4th of May, 2021. The event brought together a high level panel of Commission, Parliament, IEA and gas industry speakers, and developed around the technological pathways towards climate neutrality charted in the study, resulting in a lively debate on the need for a hydrogen market and what type of energy mix would best suit Europe’s needs towards 2050.

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Hydrogen4EU is a cross-sectoral and multi-disciplinary research partnership aiming to inform debate on the contribution of low-carbon and renewable hydrogen in reaching the European energy transition goals. Based on sound analytics and scientific modelling prepared by the Research partners, IFP Énergies Nouvelles (research), SINTEF (research) and Deloitte (project management), and advised by industry, policymakers, academics and the civil society, the partnership aims to chart science-based pathways exploring the role of hydrogen in a decarbonised European energy system.


The research was funded by 17 partners:

BP, ConocoPhillips, Concawe, ENI, Equinor, Ervia, ExxonMobil, Gassco, Hydrogen Europe, IOGP, Norwegian Oil & Gas Association, OMV, Shell, Snam, Total, Wintershall Dea, Zukunft Gas.

Project ContactAxel ScheuerSenior Manager - Policy