07 Mar 2024, 13:42
Jack McGovan

Germany's plans for a hydrogen network are oversized, critics say


A planned hydrogen "core" network in Germany has come under criticism for being larger than necessary and therefore becoming too expensive, reports Handelsblatt. Construction should begin as soon as possible with an expected deadline of 2032, but critics say the capacity of the network will far exceed hydrogen demand at the time. “The infrastructure will be underutilised for a long time,” said Benjamin Pfluger from the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Energy Infrastructures and Geothermal Systems IEG. Other critics include the managing director of gas storage system association INES, and politicians from the coalition government.

The core network is an important building block for making the country's industry climate neutral. The network is meant to connect industrial regions, coastal entry points, future storage facilities and hydrogen power plants. A large part of the network will consist of repurposed natural gas pipelines, and will also allow the import of hydrogen from other parts of the world. Gas network operators say that investments of around 20 billion euros will be needed to build the network, though negotiations are still ongoing.

Energy scenarios commissioned by the German Economy Ministry (BMWK) show that more hydrogen storage capacity is needed to support the expansion of renewable energy technologies like solar. Last month, the EU greenlit 4.6 billion euros in German state support for hydrogen infrastructure projects as part of the Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) initiative.

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