The European Hydrogen Backbone (EHB) initiative today (13 April) has proposed a hydrogen network of 39,700 km by 2040, connecting 21 countries. The vision was previously published in July 2020, suggesting a network of 23,000 km covering ten countries.
It is said that some 69% of the proposed hydrogen network consists of repurposed existing natural gas grids, while the remaining 31% newly built pipelines are needed to connect new off-takers and are located in countries with currently small gas grids but with high demand and supply potential in the future.
EHB estimated the plan would require an investment between €43 billion (US$ 51 billion) and €81 billion (US$ 96 billion). However, the investment per kilometre pipeline is lower than last year’s EHB report as it now considers smaller hydrogen pipelines taken into account the future needs. Previously it suggested using pipelines with a diameter of 48 inches. However, the final design depends on market conditions for hydrogen and regulatory requirements.
Smaller pipelines are cheaper to repurpose while leading to somewhat higher transport cost per kilometre. Transporting hydrogen over 1,000 km would cost on average between €0.11/kg and 0.21/kg of hydrogen, making the EHB a cost-effective option for long-distance hydrogen transportation.
Daniel Muthmann, Coordinator of the EHB initiative and Head of corporate development, strategy, policy and communication at OGE, said, “We are glad that eleven new countries have joined the EHB initiative. Our new report shows that a truly pan-European hydrogen infrastructure largely based on repurposed existing gas infrastructure is possible.”
The European Hydrogen Backbone (EHB) initiative is a group of European gas Transmission System Operators (TSOs) that has drafted a proposal for a dedicated hydrogen pipeline infrastructure, to a large extent based on repurposed natural gas pipelines.
The initiative published a vision paper in July 2020, covering nine EU Member States plus Switzerland. Since then, the EHB initiative has grown to 23 European gas TSOs with gas networks covering 19 EU Member States plus the UK and Switzerland.