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    Central European operators plan hydrogen corridor

Summary

With growing spare capacity, they are seeking alternative uses for their gas pipelines. (Image: CECH.)

by: William Powell

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Central European operators plan hydrogen corridor

Four central European gas transmission system operators (TSOs) have joined forces to form the Central European Hydrogen Corridor (CECH), Slovak TSO Eustream said September 23.

As gas transit from Russia dries  up – long term capacity contracts between Eustream and Ukraine's GTSOU with Gazprom expire later this decade – the TSOs are keen to develop revenue from other business. 

The other members are Czech Net4Gas and German OGE. The project is distinct from another hydrogen grouping which Eustream earlier this month said it may join: H2EU+Store.

Ukraine is positioning itself as a future major green hydrogen supplier. CECH will also enable the transport of hydrogen from production to consumption in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

GTSOU said gas will remain a major source of energy and "a strong point on the decarbonisation agenda for the next two decades. That said, hydrogen is likely to play a significant role by the year 2050, when the European economies are expected to reach carbon-neutrality, so we have to start exploring the opportunities today.... Partnership with the neighbouring TSOs could provide great synergies for green hydrogen development.” 

The project promoters believe that the corridor can be created partly by repurposing gas infrastructure but also adding new capacity including compressor stations. This will enable dedicated hydrogen transport over long distances at an affordable cost, Eustream said. 

The promoters are considering plans to transport up to 120 GWh/day from Ukraine to Germany by 2030.  Net4Gas said that while the studies are very complex, "we are positive that this strong international partnership will deliver its first results on the feasibility, capacity and cost of such transportation of hydrogen as soon as next year."

OGE said a cross-border hydrogen network was essential for a future European hydrogen market. The CEHC offers the possibility of delivering substantial amounts of hydrogen to German industrial demand centres as soon as 2030, “One thing, after all, is certain. Without the widespread use of hydrogen alongside renewable energy, we will be unable to reach our climate targets,” it said.