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    The Hague asks Gasunie to develop Dutch hydrogen network


Gasunie will start with hydrogen supply and storage for industrial clusters around the country and later it will connect them.

by: William Powell

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The Hague asks Gasunie to develop Dutch hydrogen network

Dutch gas transporter Gasunie said June 30 it was "ready to develop the national infrastructure for the transport of hydrogen," as requested by the energy and climate ministry.

It was not certain that it would also be mandated to run the hydrogen network, although it is wholly owned by the Dutch government, as is the power grid operator Tennet.

Gasunie CEO Han Fennema called the decision "a milestone in the context of the energy transition. We are therefore happy to make our contribution to the further development of hydrogen in the Netherlands. This is good for our country's leading position in this field. In fact, the Netherlands will be the first country to make the existing natural gas network suitable for hydrogen."

He said Gasunie had learned about the characteristics of hydrogen following the conversion of a gas line to hydrogen three years ago in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen. It expects to start developing the first pipelines after the summer.

"Naturally, we are taking all the steps in close coordination with current and future users, partners and other stakeholders," he said.

The first parts of the transport network will be in regions where hydrogen activities are most concrete or where there are industrial clusters. Gasunie will then connect these together, as well as to storage locations and to other countries.

"This will make the Netherlands the gateway to Europe for the global hydrogen market," Fennema said.

Gasunie estimates the investment for the entire project at €1.5bn ($1.8bn) for 10 GW capacity, or a quarter of Dutch industrial energy use. It said a national hydrogen network had to be ready in 2027 and will consist of 85% recycled natural gas pipes, supplemented by new pipes. This will lower the costs sharply compared with using completely new pipelines. 

A year ago, the climate ministry, Tennet and Gasunie embarked on a study into the conversion of the grid from gas to hydrogen transport and storage, called HyWay 27. The study shows that reusing natural gas pipelines is a safe and cost-effective way of transporting hydrogen and it was on that basis that the government made its decision, Gasunie said. The report was due to have been completed by the end of 2020.