VERBUND, Austria’s largest producer of renewable electricity, is developing a European project named Green Hydrogen@Blue Danube for the production, transport and use of green hydrogen for industrial customers and for the mobility sector. The project aims to create a green hydrogen value chain connecting the renewables capacities in South-Eastern Europe with the growing interest in hydrogen in Western Europe.
VERBUND is developing the Green Hydrogen@Blue Danube project in conjunction with partners and buyers of green hydrogen in the framework of the European Commission’s Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) initiative.
The project is coordinated by VERBUND and involves various stakeholders along the value chain, mostly Austrian and German companies such as Bayernoil, Bosch, Siemens Energy and many others. Romania’s state-owned power generation company, Hidroelectrica is also involved in the project as co-investor in renewable energy and hydrogen production in SEE.
The objective is to create a trans-European green hydrogen value chain from production to transport and purchase by industrial and mobility costumers. The first phase of the project focuses on production and use of green hydrogen in Austria and Bavaria. In the second phase, they will connect hydrogen produced from renewables in South-Eastern Europe. Hydrogen will be transported via the Danube, a long-established transport corridor (TEN-T) to buyers in Austria and Germany.
VERBUND has already initiated several flagship projects, including in particular the construction and operation of one of the world’s largest electrolysis plants funded by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU).
“VERBUND relies on green hydrogen because, for us as green electricity producers, this future-proof product is a key driver in achieving our climate targets,” said Michael Strugl, Vice Chairman of the VERBUND Executive Board.
The future demand for green hydrogen can only partially be met from domestic production. Like most Western European countries, Austria will be also more dependent on imports of green hydrogen in order to achieve the ambitious climate targets.
The goal is to extend the value chain of green electricity by creating a hydrogen project with a European dimension in order to use renewable resources made in Europe, which otherwise could not be realised due to a lack of power transmission capacities.
The European hydrogen economy is also emerging with the Commission’s new hydrogen strategy announced a few months ago, there is a clear intention to scale up hydrogen capabilities and specifically to incentivise cross-border projects.