11 Nov 2022, 13:50
Benjamin Wehrmann

Southern German state plans ahead with 2030 hydrogen pipeline despite unclear supply and demand

Stuttgarter Nachrichten / Clean Energy Wire

Regional transmission system operator Terranets bw in Baden-Württemberg, a subsidiary of Baden-Württemberg energy group EnBW, is planning a new pipeline from Mannheim to the Stuttgart region that will begin carrying hydrogen in 2030, Stuttgarter Nachrichten reports. The move is part of terranets bw’s plans to establish and continually expand a hydrogen network. While it remained unclear where the green hydrogen will come from or who the exact customers will be, work is already underway in setting up the transport network, the article said. Transmission operators have been planning for the adoption of hydrogen with the aim of adding up to 2,900 kilometres of new lines nationwide and converting parts of existing gas networks for hydrogen, which could comprise up to 5,900 kilometres – an endeavour that could cost up to 10 billion euros.

Terranets bw operates a pipeline network of more than 2,700 kilometres in Baden-Württemberg and in the neighbouring state of Hesse. The gas pipeline conversions will take around five years because they need to be retrofitted to withstand the more aggressive hydrogen, which can deteriorate rubber seals and affect other vital components. Researchers have warned against rushing into hydrogen as it takes a lot of renewable energy to produce climate-friendly green hydrogen and it will be a long time before enough of it is available. Terranets bw nevertheless expects current annual consumption of 2,000 megawatt hours to increase sixfold by 2030 and tenfold by 2050.

Green hydrogen is considered a pillar of the energy transition, particularly for sectors with high CO2 emissions, such as heavy industry and aviation.

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