Four leading Central European gas infrastructure companies have joined forces to develop a hydrogen highway through Central Europe.
The focus of the joint initiative called the Central European Hydrogen Corridor is on developing a hydrogen highway in Central Europe for the transport of hydrogen from promising future major hydrogen supply areas in Ukraine that offers excellent conditions for large-scale, green hydrogen production via Slovakia and the Czech Republic to large hydrogen demand areas in Germany and the EU. The hydrogen corridor will also enable transporting hydrogen between hydrogen production facilities and hydrogen consumers in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Participating companies include Sloavakia’s gas TSO EUSTREAM, the Gas TSO of Ukraine (GTSOU), Czech TSO NET4GAS and leading German TSO OGE.
“Natural gas will remain a major source of energy and a strong point on the decarbonisation agenda for the next two decades,” said Pawel Stanczak, Deputy CEO for Development and Transformation of Gas TSO of Ukraine. “That said, hydrogen is likely to play a significant role by the year 2050 when the European economies are expected to reach carbon-neutrality, so we have to start exploring the opportunities today. Hydrogen is a promising technology at the early stage of economy-wide adoption. Partnership with the neighbouring TSOs could provide great synergies for green hydrogen development.”
Slovakia and the Czech Republic are operating a large natural gas pipeline corridor connecting Ukraine with European demand areas. The Slovak, Czech and German gas pipeline systems can be repurposed to transport hydrogen.
“Our robust transmission system would offer a flexible and very cost-effective way of transporting green energy further to EU markets,” explained Rastislav Ňukovič, EUSTREAM’s General Director. “We are committed to making our infrastructure hydrogen-ready and thus strongly contribute to the EU’s decarbonisation objectives.”
On the other hand, Germany is expected to be a major demand area for hydrogen in Europe. Importing a significant amount of hydrogen is essential to meet the projected demand in this region.
The project promoters believe that the Central European Hydrogen Corridor can be created partially by repurposing existing gas infrastructure, combined with targeted investments in new dedicated hydrogen pipelines and compressor stations. This enables dedicated hydrogen transport over long distances at an affordable cost.
The project promoters have already started to explore the technical feasibility of creating a Central European Hydrogen Corridor for the transportation of up to 120 gigawatts-hour (GWh) per day of pure hydrogen from Ukraine to Germany by 2030.
“Even if such technical studies are very complex, we are positive that this strong international partnership will deliver its first results on the feasibility, capacity and cost of such transportation of hydrogen as soon as next year,” pointed out Andreas Rau, NET4GAS’s Managing Director.
“A transnational hydrogen network is essential for a future European hydrogen market,” concluded Jörg Bergmann, OGE’s CEO. “The Central European Hydrogen Corridor is an important step on the way there as it offers the possibility of delivering substantial amounts of hydrogen to German industrial demand centres already by 2030. One thing, after all, is certain. Without the widespread use of hydrogen alongside renewable energy, we will be unable to reach our climate targets.”