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40,000 km of dedicated hydrogen transport infrastructure covering 11 new countries

The European Hydrogen Backbone (EHB) initiative presented an updated version of its vision for a dedicated hydrogen transport infrastructure across Europe.

The group, which includes 12 European gas Transmission System Operators (TSOs) from 11 European countries, is proposing a hydrogen network of 39,700 kilometres by 2040, with further growth expected after 2040.

“Europe needs to rapidly develop dedicated hydrogen pipeline infrastructure,” said professor Ad van Wijk, author of the 2×40 GW Electrolyser Plan and advisor to Hydrogen Europe. “This new EHB report shows a clear roadmap of how this could work.”

Some 69 per cent of the proposed hydrogen network consists of repurposed existing natural gas grids. The remaining 31 per cent of newly built pipelines are needed to connect new off-takers and are located in countries with small gas grids today, yet with high expected future hydrogen demand and supply.

The almost 40,000 kilometres envisaged 2040 backbone requires an estimated total investment of 43-81billion euro. The investment per kilometre of the pipeline is lower compared to last year’s EHB report as it takes into account that a large part of today’s natural gas infrastructure and of tomorrow’s hydrogen infrastructure will consist of smaller pipelines which are cheaper to repurpose while leading to somewhat higher transport cost per kilometre.

Transporting hydrogen over 1,000 kilometres would on average cost 0.11-0.21 euro per kg of hydrogen, making the EHB a cost-effective option for long-distance hydrogen transportation.

The hydrogen infrastructure maps for 2030, 2035 and 2040 reflect the vision of 23 European gas TSOs, based on their analysis of how infrastructure could evolve to meet decarbonisation targets. These include also several TSOs from Central and Eastern Europe as Estonia’s Elering, Slovakia’s Eustream, Hungary’s FGSZ, Poland’s GAZ-SYSTEM, Greece’s DESFA, Slovenia’s Plinovodi and Czech the Republic’s NET4GAS.

“We are glad that eleven new countries have joined the EHB initiative,” commented Daniel Muthmann, Coordinator of the EHB initiative and Head of corporate development, strategy, policy and communication at OGE. “Our new report shows that a truly pan-European hydrogen infrastructure largely based on repurposed existing gas infrastructure is possible.”

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