European natural gas infrastructure companies have proposed a plan to convert existing gas infrastructure to transport hydrogen “at an affordable cost,” Kallanish Energy reports.
The group of 11 firms from nine EU member states said they fully support the European Green Deal and are willing to play their part in facilitating the scale-up of renewable and low-carbon gas.
“We see the European Hydrogen Backbone as a critical piece of the puzzle,” the companies said, announcing new research showing the existing infrastructure can transport hydrogen produced from offshore wind and solar PV within Europe; as well as allow for imports from outside Europe.
“In the transition to a net zero-emission EU energy system, hydrogen and biomethane will play a major role in a smart combination with renewable electricity, using Europe’s well-developed existing energy infrastructure,” the firms said.
However, for hydrogen to develop to its full potential, there must be a tangible perspective towards developing a well-connected European hydrogen market over time.
The European Hydrogen Backbone project would include pipelines in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Sweden, and Switzerland.
The companies see a network gradually emerging from the mid-2020s onwards. This leads to an initial 6,800 km pipeline network by 2030, connecting hydrogen valleys. The planning for this first phase should start in the early 2020s, they said.
In a second and third phase, the infrastructure further expands by 2035 and stretches into all directions by 2040 with a length of almost 23,000 km.
Such a network would cost around €27-64 billion, while its levalized costs are estimated at €0.09-0.17 per kg of hydrogen per 1,000 km, allowing hydrogen to be transported cost-efficiently over long distances across Europe.
The companies explained that the relatively wide range in the cost estimates reflects uncertainties in compressor costs.
The backbone is a plan developed by Enagás, Energinet, Fluxys Belgium, Gasunie, GRTgaz, NET4GAS, OGE, ONTRAS, Teréga, Snam, and Swedegas.
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