05 Jul 2024, 14:38
Carolina Kyllmann

Germany can largely cover future hydrogen demand with pipelines – report

Clean Energy Wire

A large part of Germany's future hydrogen demand could be supplied to the country via pipelines from neighbouring countries, according to a report by think tanks Agora Energiewende and Agora Industrie. "Around 60 to 100 terawatt hours (TWh) of green hydrogen could be imported from neighbouring countries as early as the mid-2030s," the authors found. Germany's national hydrogen council predicts that demand by 2030 will be between 94 and 125 TWh per year. "To achieve climate neutrality, Germany needs a secure and cost-effective supply of renewable hydrogen," Agora Energiewende director Simon Müller said. "Pipeline imports from Europe play a decisive role in this." Constructing infrastructure for production and transport is now key to secure imports, he added.

The report explored five possible pipeline corridors, finding that green hydrogen imports from Denmark and Norway were especially promising. In the mid to long-term, pipelines through the Baltic Sea from Sweden and Finland would also offer a corridor, as well as corridors from Southern Europe and North Africa. Pipelines are the most cost-effective way to import hydrogen into Germany from neighbouring countries, and the think tanks highlight that many existing natural gas transport pipelines could be re-purposed. "In order for the hydrogen import corridors to be ready in time, agreements between exporters, importers and transit countries on planning and financing the pipelines need to be reached quickly," Müller said.

Green hydrogen is set to play a crucial role in the decarbonisation of many hard-to-abate sectors, such as steelmaking and the chemical industry. But it is unlikely that Germany or Europe as a whole will be able to meet the entire projected demand with local production. Importing from regions with better potential for renewable electricity production, such as Africa, is therefore going to be key for a reliable supply. Germany's government is set to present a hydrogen import strategy soon.

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