Germany’s gas transmission system operator Gascade and its Belgian counterpart Fluxys said they would build a green hydrogen pipeline in the North Sea. The country is also joining the H2Med project with the intention to extend the planned pipeline to its border.
Soon after unveiling plans with Norway for hydrogen production and transport under the sea to feed its future gas power plants, Germany announced it would participate in the construction of two more green hydrogen pipelines. The country’s gas transmission system operator Gascade and its Belgian counterpart Fluxys have applied to the European Commission for their AquaDuctus endeavor to obtain the status of a project of common interest or PCI.
The offshore pipeline will be over 400 kilometers long, Gascade’s Managing Director Christoph von dem Bussche revealed. It is envisaged to collect hydrogen from multiple production sites while also offering the potential to link up with other international hydrogen flows through the North Sea.
The first step is to connect the SEN-1 hydrogen wind farm, with flows to start in 2030. In subsequent years, wind farms further offshore in Germany’s exclusive economic zone may be linked up as well as hydrogen infrastructure operated by other North Sea countries. By 2035, the subsea pipeline should carry up to one million tonnes of hydrogen a year into Germany, the statement adds.
The first combined wind power and hydrogen production project is planned to be connected to AquaDuctus in 2030
Studies identify up to 100 GW of hydrogen production potential in the German and European North Sea, the companies said. They have completed the feasibility study for AquaDuctus.
Germany, France to step up cooperation in hydrogen, offshore wind, battery sectors
The other project was unveiled after last week’s meeting of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris. The two countries vowed to cooperate on the creation of “a European backbone for hydrogen transport across Europe, including the necessary national and transnational hydrogen infrastructures.”
Germany is working with Norway, France and Belgium on utilizing offshore wind and green hydrogen production potential in the North Sea
In particular, they said they would extend the proposed H2Med pipeline to Germany and step up work on the utilization of the offshore wind potential of the North Sea, also involving hydrogen production. In a joint declaration, the leaders of both governments committed to developing battery charging and hydrogen refueling infrastructure as well.
H2Med was originally envisaged with two million tons in annual capacity
Portugal, Spain and France officially announced the start of the joint project valued at EUR 2.5 billion last month. H2Med is intended to carry two million tons of only green hydrogen per year by 2030 from Barcelona to Marseille. It is forecast to account for 10% of Europe’s hydrogen consumption when it reaches full capacity.
The production of green hydrogen is a solution for storing excess energy from solar and wind power plants, but it has a long way before becoming profitable. Almost all the hydrogen currently produced is from fossil fuels. It can also be used in industrial production and transportation.
To be called green, hydrogen needs to be produced using electricity from renewable sources. In the process, water is separated in electrolyzers into oxygen and hydrogen. On the other hand, the term clean or low-carbon hydrogen is usually reserved for the result of electrolysis powered by any zero or near-zero carbon technology, including nuclear energy.