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    European Gas Grid Operators Present Hydrogen Plan


The group sees a hydrogen 'backbone' grid reaching 23,000 km in size by 2040.

by: Joseph Murphy

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European Gas Grid Operators Present Hydrogen Plan

Some 11 European gas grid operators from nine EU member states presented a plan on July 17 for adapting gas infrastructure to transport hydrogen at an affordable cost. The release of the paper, named European Hydrogen Backbone, comes after the European Commission (EC) published its long-awaited strategy to developing hydrogen as an energy source.

The plan was drawn up by Spain's Enagas, Denmark's Energinet, Belgium's Fluxys, the Netherlands' Gasunie, France's GRTgaz and Terega, the Czech Republic's Net4Gas, Germany's Open Grid Europe and Ontras, Italy's Snam and Sweden's Swedegas. Consultancy firm Guidehouse – formerly Navigant – is also supporting the initiative.

The companies see a hydrogen network gradually emerging in the mid-2020s, and reaching 6,800 km in size by 2030. By 2040 it will reach 23,000 km, of which 75% will consist of converted gas pipelines. Estimated investments of €27-64bn ($31-73bn) will be required.

The paper projects levelised transport costs at €0.09-0.17/kg/'000 km, which means that hydrogen can be delivered across Europe cost-efficiently. The relatively wide range in the estimate is mainly because of uncertainties surrounding compressor costs.

"We are glad to see the EC's ambitious strategy to scale up hydrogen, already starting in this decade, and we think our initiative can play an important role in facilitating this," OGE's head of strategy, Daniel Muthmann said. "A European Hydrogen Backbone provides the opportunity to make large potential EU hydrogen supplies available to various demand sectors emerging during the energy transition. It is essential for a future EU hydrogen market. We recognise that the hydrogen backbone must become a truly European undertaking with strong links going towards eastern member states."

The group sees the hydrogen network eventually covering the entire EU, and they have called on other European gas operators to help further develop the plan.