Leading European energy infrastructure utility EP Infrastructure (EPIF) together with Slovak gas transmission system operator Eustream, International company NAFTA and electricity generation company RWE Supply and Trading are looking to jointly explore the potential development of state-of-the-art blue hydrogen production facilities in eastern Slovakia.
To this end, the companies have now signed a Memorandum of Understanding. RWE Supply and Trading could off-take and import the produced hydrogen to Germany and other RWE core markets in Western Europe. The hydrogen could then be transmitted through a repurposed Eustream gas pipeline to Germany. The carbon dioxide captured during hydrogen generation could be stored within depleted natural gas fields in Slovakia or neighbouring Central Eastern European countries, including Ukraine. The partners aim to help accelerate the ramp-up of the hydrogen economy and significantly contribute to the European decarbonisation ambitions.
“We expect a significant need for low-carbon hydrogen imports to Germany in order to meet domestic demand already in 2030,” said Ulf Kerstin, CCO of RWE Supply and Trading. “To potentially off-take low-carbon hydrogen produced in Slovakia and import it to Germany via repurposed pipeline infrastructure would address this demand and at the same time support establishing the infrastructure required for future imports of green hydrogen from Eastern Europe, including Ukraine.”
“We have recently announced our ambitions to make our grid hydrogen-ready,” added Rastislav Ňukovič, CEO of Eustream. “By 2023 we aim to be technologically ready to accept hydrogen blends of up to 5 per cent into our system and in the future, we are planning to dedicate one of our pipelines to pure hydrogen transmission. The cooperation with RWE in the field of blue hydrogen production in Slovakia is an exciting opportunity that aims to accelerate not only our ambitions but also the hydrogen roll-out in the EU.”
The companies are creating a joint working group, which is going to create a roadmap for project implementation and hold dialogues with relevant stakeholders enabling the project implementation, most notably in Ukraine, Czech Republic and Austria in the coming months. All companies consider the memorandum as an important step towards further developing their hydrogen businesses.