28 Jan 2020, 13:50
Sören Amelang

Gas grid operators say few new pipelines needed to build hydrogen network


Germany's gas industry plans to establish a pipeline network measuring 5,900 kilometres to enable the large-scale use of hydrogen in the country. According to a plan seen by business daily Handelsblatt, gas transmission grid operator umbrella organisation FNB Gas intends to use mainly existing infrastructure to transport hydrogen from future generation sites in the north of the country to industrial centres in the west and south, reports Klaus Stratmann. "Transmission grid operators are committed to also using the existing gas infrastructure for hydrogen. We are working at full speed on concrete technical and network planning solutions to ensure that the integration can be successful," FNB Gas head Ralph Bahke told the newspaper. More than 90 percent of the hydrogen grid planned by the operators is based on the existing network used for transporting natural gas. The hydrogen grid would also allow for the import of hydrogen via ships or pipelines.

Natural gas will continue to play a key role in electricity generation, heating, and industry for many years to come in Germany. But because the country aims to be climate-neutral by 2050, most experts believe it will be gradually substituted by hydrogen, which could eventually become carbon-neutral if made with renewable power using electrolysis. The German government plans to present its highly anticipated plans for a "hydrogen economy" in the coming weeks. Germany's steel and chemical industry are also betting heavily on the use of green hydrogen in their long-term decarbonisation plans. Because the making of green hydrogen is extremely energy-intensive, Germany will likely have to import large quantities from countries better suited for renewables generation in the future.

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