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2023 EU-Taiwan Hydrogen Roundtable

The ECCTs' Low Carbon Initiative (LCI) was the co-organiser of the EU-Taiwan hydrogen roundtable forum together with the European Union Centre in Taiwan (臺灣歐盟中心). It was the first major joint Europe-Taiwan event dedicated exclusively to the topic of hydrogen held in Taiwan. The half day forum featured presentations by representatives from the EU and Taiwan government as well as industry experts and academics from Europe and Taiwan to discuss policies and exchange opinions on international cooperation, infrastructure and practical experience related to hydrogen development.

The event began with opening remarks by ECCT Chairman Giuseppe Izzo and Dr Su Hung-dah, Director of EUTW (蘇宏達主任), Gwenole Cozigou, Director of Ecosystems III from the European Commission's Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) and Lee Chun-li, Deputy Director-General of the Bureau of Energy (BOE), under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).

This was followed by two keynote speeches from officials representing the EU and Taiwan government and two panel discussions on various topics related to hydrogen development. The panel discussions featured senior executives including Lee Shun-chin, Chairman of CPC Taiwan (中油公司 李順欽董事長) and Wang Yao-ting, President of Taiwan Power Company (Taipower, 台電公司 王耀庭總經理).

Keynote 1: Taiwan's hydrogen roadmap: Challenges & opportunities in achieving net zero by 2050
Speaker: Lee Chun-li, Deputy Director-General, Bureau of Energy (BOE), MOEA (經濟部能源局 李君禮副局長)
In his presentation, the speaker addressed some of the challenges ahead for Taiwan in hydrogen development and how Taiwan plans to reach its net zero goals by scaling up the hydrogen value chain.

Hydrogen is one of the government's 12 strategies to reach its net zero by 2050. The use of hydrogen is targeted to eventually reach 9-12% of the energy mix. Renewables are expected to reach 60-70% of the mix by 2050 while carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) is planned to be used to deal with around 20-27% of emissions that are difficult to eliminate by switching from fossil fuels to renewables.  

The government has set up a hydrogen promotion taskforce headed by the MOEA vice minister and comprising representatives from the BOE, Industrial Development Bureau (IDB), Taipower, CPC and China Steel. Taiwan's top priority for the use of hydrogen is in electricity (given the fact that 50% of Taiwan's emissions come from electricity generation) while the second priority is in industrial use (which account for about 25% of Taiwan's emissions). The first industries to be targeted to replace fossil fuels with hydrogen are steel, chemical and cement producers, given the fact that they are heavy carbon emitters. 

Lee acknowledged that it will be challenging to set up the required infrastructure since dealing with imported hydrogen will require first acquiring suitable land and building terminals, storage and distribution systems. The government also plans to eventually produce renewable hydrogen in Taiwan. This will require acquiring and installing electrolysers and then connecting them to a renewable energy source. Currently Taiwan does not have enough renewable energy for both electricity generation and powering electrolysers.

Since Taiwan does not have the necessary expertise and experience to produce hydrogen, it will need to cooperate with international firms. 

Keynote 2: European Commission's update on renewable hydrogen
Speaker: Gwenole Cozigou, Director, Ecosystems III: Construction, Machinery and Standardisation, DG GROW

In his presentation, the speaker provided the latest updates from the European Commission on renewable hydrogen developments.

Hydrogen is one of the key pillars of the EU's path to net zero and the key objective is to produce renewable hydrogen in the future. The priority target for the use of hydrogen is in industry sectors where power demands are difficult to meet from renewable electricity, such as steel production. It will also be used for large vehicles and electricity storage to help to balance the grid from intermittent renewable sources. Sixteen EU member states have already put in place hydrogen strategies and set targets for the production and use of green hydrogen.

The EU is providing institutional funding for the Clean Hydrogen Partnership, which supports the development of renewable hydrogen production and systems, and the Clean Hydrogen Alliance, which supports both renewable and low carbon hydrogen. The Clean Hydrogen Alliance has around 1,700 members and a pipeline of 850 projects, which aim to create 67GW of capacity by 2030 across Europe, of which 70% are planned to be operational by 2025.

Cozigou noted that the capacity for producing electrolysers was not yet sufficient but that 20 electrolyser producers have signed agreements to increase production. Besides increasing Europe's energy resilience, developing the green hydrogen supply chain is expected to create a lot of jobs in Europe. 

Currently, hydrogen only accounts for a small portion of Europe's energy mix and around 90% of all hydrogen is produced from steam reforming of natural gas. To achieve its green hydrogen goals will require a holistic approach that considers the whole supply chain, regulatory framework as well as investment. Given the large development costs, public investment is important to serve as a trigger for private investment. €20 billion in funding has already been pledged at the EU level and more is expected at the member state level. The European Hydrogen Bank has been set up with the intention to accelerate investment and bridge the investment gap for the EU to reach its target to produce 10 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen by 2030. After this, economies of scale will be needed to bring down average costs of production.

It is also important to bring all stakeholders together to create a market. In this regard, offtake agreements are also needed to make sure that the needs of all offtakers are met.

Setting objectives is essential in the planning process but Cozigou also stressed the need to monitor and adapt during the development process.

Panel discussion 1: The role of international collaboration to create the hydrogen economy
Moderator: Dr Su Hung-dah, Director of EUTW


  • Lee Chun-li, Deputy Director-General, BOE, MOEA
  • Lee Shun-chin, Chairman, CPC Taiwan (中油公司/ 李順欽董事長)
  • Wang Yao-ting, President, Taipower (台電公司/ 王耀庭總經理)

On a question about CPC's hydrogen development plans, CPC Chairman Lee said that initially Taiwan would need to import hydrogen from the current major exporters, such as Australia, Argentina and Chile. According to Lee, to meet its net zero targets, Taiwan will need about 4.35 million tonnes of hydrogen per year by 2050. Of this, Taiwan should be able to produce 1.1 million tonnes locally while the other 3.25 million tonnes will have to be imported. Lee stressed that Taiwan will need to collaborate with other countries to develop hydrogen import and production facilities as well as CCUS technologies.

In his remarks, Taipower President Wang Yao-ting said that Japan will probably complete its hydrogen infrastructure by 2040 and Taiwan will need to keep up. He said that CPC will play a leading role in hydrogen infrastructure and will need help from the Bureau of Energy.

Taiwan will need to solve technical issues, such as keeping hydrogen at temperatures of 250 degrees below freezing and safety issues. It will take a lot of efforts and testing to ensure that infrastructure is safe. Developing talent will also be an issue since Taiwan does not have experience in green hydrogen. Finally, communication with the public will be crucial to deal with NIMBY opposition from residents where hydrogen facilities are to be located. All aspects will need a comprehensive regulatory framework to be place. To create green hydrogen requires collaboration with international partners. All phases of the process will require government support, including putting in place a regulatory framework, subsidies for development and in communications with the public. In this regard Europe offers good practices for Taiwan to follow in terms of regulatory framework and subsidy.  

In his remarks, BOE Deputy Director General Lee said that Taiwan does not yet have a formal legal framework specifically for hydrogen. At present there are only regulations governing gas. It will still take some time to put in place regulations, especially given the fact that there are very few international examples for Taiwan to follow at present. Regarding international collaboration, this is very important for Taiwan given Taiwan's lack of experience. Regarding international cooperation, Taiwan is currently focused on Australia and could first import hydrogen from Australia and perhaps later cooperate in other parts of the supply chain. Right now CPC can produce hydrogen using traditional methods but this will not be suitable in the future unless it is combined with CCS. For Taiwan to produce renewable hydrogen, it will need to rely on international partners to set up local production facilities. In addition, Taiwan will need a lot more production of renewable energy to power electrolysers. Right now Taiwan has a dream to produce green hydrogen but not yet a clear plan to do so.  

Laurent Chevalier said that there is a lot of room for Europe and Taiwan to cooperate and a lot that Europe can do a lot to help Taiwan. He noted that Taiwan is not starting from scratch because the hydrogen supply chain has similarities with the LNG supply chain in which Taiwan has 40 years of experience while Taiwan also has experience producing and using hydrogen through traditional methods. European firms can share their experience with regards to producing renewable hydrogen and the related equipment and infrastructure systems as well as CCS.

South Korea is developing six hydrogen cities and five hydrogen clusters that could serve as an example for Taiwan.

Panel discussion 2: Hydrogen logistics and infrastructure
Moderator: H Henry Chang, Chair, ECCT LCI Chair (歐洲商會-低碳倡議行動 張瀚書主席)

  • Tsai Ming-chang, Director, Refining & Manufacturing Research Institute (台灣中油公司煉製研究所 蔡銘璋 所長)
  • Olivier Letessier, President, Air Liquide Far Eastern
  • Andrew Kao, General Manager, TÜV Rheinland (德國萊因 高鴻鈞總 經理)
  • Laurent Chevalier, General Representative, Gas Renewables & Power, TotalEnergies Taiwan
  • Philippe Somers, Head of Energy x Projects, North Asia, Bollore Logistics

BOE Deputy Director General Lee said that a draft regulation governing hydrogen filling stations is currently being discussed and should be announced within the next month or so. However, promotion and incentive policies will still require more study and consultations.

In his remarks Tsai Ming-chang said that there are many logistical and technical challenges to overcome, including where to set up terminals for imports of hydrogen with sufficient capacity, safety issues dealing with hydrogen storage and the high cost of creating the storage and distribution infrastructure.

Laurent Chevallier made the point that large scale hydrogen projects will need to secure financing, which implies that Taiwan will first need the right policy framework and projects would have to have sufficient scale and bankability. Large investments will be needed to create economies of scale.

Oliver Letessier said that Air Liquide has 40 years of experience in the hydrogen business for many applications, including rockets and industry applications. All the necessary technology has already been developed. In terms of electrolysers, there may be a shortage of capacity now but this is being addressed by companies in the Clean Hydrogen Alliance. He noted that his company has 15 years of experience in storing large quantities of hydrogen for long durations as well as experience with hydrogen filling stations and CCS. Air Liquide was one of the founding members of the Hydrogen Council, which now has 100 members. All of the company's knowledge and experience is available to Taiwan. The technology is available and ready for Taiwan and Air Liquide is excited about the prospects for Taiwan. He added that the company is already investing in renewable hydrogen in Taiwan for its local customers. It already has five electrolysers in Taiwan with plans to install three more. However, he reiterated a point made by BOE DDG Lee that the main challenge for the future of green hydrogen in Taiwan is the lack of renewable power to run the electrolysers.

In his remarks, Andrew Kao stressed the importance of ensuring the safety of producing, transporting, storing and using hydrogen value chain. This will require amendments to laws and regulation and implementation of the necessary standards that cover the entire supply chain.

In his remarks Philippe Somers said that ships and other transport infrastructure had to be tailor-made for hydrogen and that training will be needed for people engaged in the logistics of the hydrogen supply chain. A robust subsidy policy will be needed to attract private sector players. He noted that even small-scale projects need subsidies. In the development stage, Taiwan should also bear in mind that there are a limited number of contractors and suppliers.