The EU’s Hydrogen-Powered Future of Europe Unveiled

As the world transitions towards renewable energy sources, hydrogen has emerged as a pivotal player in the quest for sustainable transportation and industrial applications. We delve into the ambitious European initiatives that aim to revolutionize the continent’s energy landscape.

The developers of projects on the list can also tap the €5.84bn energy provision in the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility for funds — or the host member states for extra investment. The list, which had been proposed by the European Commission in November last year, had been controversial among environmental groups due to its inclusion of pipelines that would primarily carry fossil gas, such as EastMed and Melita, and it survived a vote to scrap the proposal in European Parliament last month.

With no veto from the EU’s council of ministers either, the list has now been signed into the EU’s official journal and will come into effect in 20 days.

Hydrogen Interconnections in Western Europe (HI West)

The HI West projects are focused on developing a robust hydrogen infrastructure across the Western European region, spanning multiple countries and facilitating seamless interconnectivity. Let’s explore the key components of this transformative network in more detail:

Corridor Portugal – Spain – France – Germany

This expansive corridor encompasses a range of interconnected projects that aim to establish a comprehensive hydrogen network across several countries. The development of internal hydrogen infrastructure within each country, coupled with the construction of cross-border hydrogen interconnectors, will enable the efficient movement of hydrogen throughout the region.

The BarMar project, for instance, will directly connect the hydrogen infrastructure of Spain and France, allowing for the seamless transport of hydrogen between these two nations. Similarly, the HyFen initiative will link the hydrogen systems of France and Germany, further strengthening the connectivity within this corridor.

France – Germany Cross-Border Hydrogen Valleys

Recognizing the importance of cross-border collaboration, these projects will create hydrogen valleys on both sides of the France-Germany border. The RHYn and Mosahyc initiatives will establish interconnected hubs for the production, storage, and distribution of hydrogen, fostering a shared ecosystem for this clean energy carrier.

By developing these hydrogen valleys on either side of the border, the projects aim to facilitate the exchange of knowledge, technologies, and resources, ultimately accelerating the adoption of hydrogen across the region.

Hydrogen Interconnectors and Backbone Networks

To ensure the efficient transportation of hydrogen, the HI West projects will establish a comprehensive network of pipelines and backbone systems. The National Hydrogen Backbone in the Netherlands, the Belgian Hydrogen Backbone, and the H2ercules West system in Germany will form a connected infrastructure, enabling the seamless movement of hydrogen across the region.

These interconnectors and backbone networks will play a crucial role in integrating the various hydrogen production, storage, and distribution facilities, creating a cohesive and resilient hydrogen ecosystem throughout Western Europe.

Ammonia Reception Facilities

To support the growing demand for hydrogen-based fuels, a network of ammonia reception facilities is being developed in Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands. These terminals will play a pivotal role in the import and distribution of ammonia, a versatile hydrogen-based energy carrier that can be more easily transported and stored compared to pure hydrogen.

The establishment of these ammonia reception facilities will enhance the region’s capacity to access and distribute hydrogen-derived energy sources, further strengthening the overall hydrogen infrastructure.

Electrolyser Facilities

Across Western Europe, a significant number of electrolyser facilities are being constructed to produce green hydrogen through the electrolysis of water. These facilities, located in Spain, France, the Netherlands, and Germany, will be instrumental in meeting the region’s increasing demand for clean hydrogen, a crucial component of the energy transition.

By scaling up the production of green hydrogen, these electrolyser facilities will contribute to the decarbonization of various sectors, including transportation, industry, and power generation.

Hydrogen Storage Solutions

To ensure the reliability and resilience of the hydrogen infrastructure, the HI West projects are implementing a range of storage solutions. This includes the development of underground hydrogen storage facilities in Germany, the Netherlands, and France, as well as the Danish Hydrogen Storage project.

These storage facilities will play a vital role in balancing supply and demand, allowing for the accumulation of hydrogen during periods of surplus production and its subsequent release during times of high demand. This will help stabilize the hydrogen ecosystem and enhance the overall security of the region’s energy supply.

Hydrogen Interconnections in Central Eastern and South Eastern Europe (HI East)

Hydrogen Corridor Italy – Austria – Germany

The HI East initiatives focus on fostering hydrogen connectivity across the Central Eastern and South Eastern European regions, leveraging cross-border collaboration and infrastructure development. A key component of this effort is the Hydrogen Corridor Italy – Austria – Germany project.

This ambitious endeavor aims to establish a seamless hydrogen corridor, with internal hydrogen infrastructure being developed in each of the participating countries. In Italy, the Italian H2 Backbone will lay the foundations for a robust national hydrogen network. Across the border in Austria, the H2 Readiness of the TAG pipeline system will ensure the readiness of the existing natural gas infrastructure for hydrogen transportation. Finally, in Germany, the HyPipe Bavaria – The Hydrogen Hub initiative will create a dedicated hydrogen hub, integrating with the broader corridor.

By aligning these national-level projects, the Hydrogen Corridor Italy – Austria – Germany will facilitate the efficient movement of hydrogen across this strategic region, connecting major industrial and population centers and enabling the widespread adoption of this clean energy carrier.

Hydrogen Interconnectors

Beyond the Italy-Austria-Germany corridor, the HI East region also includes plans for additional hydrogen interconnectors. These cross-border links will further expand the reach of the hydrogen infrastructure, connecting Czechia and Germany, as well as Greece and Bulgaria.

The Czechia-Germany interconnector will involve the development of internal hydrogen infrastructure in both countries, ensuring seamless integration and the reliable transportation of hydrogen across the border. Similarly, the Greece-Bulgaria interconnector will connect the hydrogen systems of these two nations, fostering regional collaboration and enhancing the overall connectivity of the HI East network.

Hydrogen Transmission from Ukraine

Recognizing the potential of Ukraine as a hydrogen producer, a generic corridor is being explored to transmit hydrogen from the country to Slovakia, Czechia, Austria, and Germany. This initiative will further expand the reach of the hydrogen infrastructure in Central and Eastern Europe, leveraging Ukraine’s strategic location and tapping into its renewable energy resources for hydrogen generation.

By incorporating Ukraine into the broader HI East network, this project aims to diversify the region’s hydrogen supply sources and strengthen the overall resilience of the energy system.

Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan (BEMIP) Hydrogen

Nordic Hydrogen Route – Bothnian Bay

The BEMIP Hydrogen initiatives focus on fostering hydrogen interconnectivity in the Baltic Sea region, connecting Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Germany. One of the key projects within this framework is the Nordic Hydrogen Route – Bothnian Bay.

This project specifically aims to establish a hydrogen interconnector between Sweden and Finland, leveraging the Bothnian Bay as a strategic location. By connecting these two Nordic countries, the Nordic Hydrogen Route – Bothnian Bay will facilitate the exchange of hydrogen and promote the integration of this clean energy carrier across the Baltic Sea region.

Nordic-Baltic Hydrogen Corridor

Taking a broader approach, the Nordic-Baltic Hydrogen Corridor initiative will connect Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Germany, creating a comprehensive hydrogen network in the Baltic Sea region. This expansive project will enable the efficient movement of hydrogen across national boundaries, fostering regional collaboration and supporting the widespread adoption of this clean energy source.

The Baltic Sea Hydrogen Collector

Complementing the regional efforts, the Baltic Sea Hydrogen Collector project will connect Sweden, Finland, and Germany, further strengthening the hydrogen infrastructure in the Baltic Sea area. This initiative will help consolidate the various national-level hydrogen projects, ensuring a well-integrated and resilient hydrogen ecosystem across the Nordic and Baltic countries.

Together, these BEMIP Hydrogen initiatives will play a crucial role in integrating the Baltic Sea region into the broader European hydrogen landscape, contributing to the continent’s transition towards a sustainable, low-carbon energy future.

The comprehensive initiatives outlined showcase the European Union’s unwavering commitment to a sustainable, hydrogen-powered future. By fostering a robust network of hydrogen interconnections, the continent is poised to unlock the immense potential of this clean energy carrier, transforming transportation, industry, and the overall energy landscape. As we move forward, the successful implementation of these projects will be a testament to Europe’s leadership in the global transition towards a greener, more resilient energy system.