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80-mile hydrogen pipeline to be built in Germany

18 March 2020

Open Grid Europe (OGE), a group of the 16 largest gas transmission grid operators in Germany, has announced plans for an 80-mile (130km) long hydrogen pipeline to be built in northwest Germany as part of the country’s move towards greener energy sources. The project is being developed by a consortium which includes OGE, BP, Evonik, Nowega, and RWE Generation.

Image: OGE
Image: OGE

The consortium will develop Germany’s first publicly accessible hydrogen network to supply green hydrogen to industrial companies in the country’s north western states of Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia.

The idea behind the project is to convert power from renewable energies into hydrogen and use it as a carbon-free source of energy in industry and other sectors. OGE announced the plans on March 17 and said green hydrogen would be produced from renewable energies in Lingen, Lower Saxony via a 100 MW electrolyser owned by RWE Generation. It will then be transported to industrial customers and refineries in Lingen, Marl and Gelsenkirchen – mainly via existing gas pipelines operated by transmission system operators Nowega and OGE and converted for the transportation of 100 percent hydrogen, but also via a partially new construction by Evonik.

The project is called GET H2 Nukleus which comes from the name for RWE’s planned hydrogen plant in Lingen, the ‘Get H2’ pilot plant.

The plans would see existing, but underused, natural gas pipelines be converted for transporting hydrogen. The pipeline would be open to use by third parties in a non-discriminatory way, including all generators, traders and consumers, as is already the case with power grids and gas networks.

Currently, Germany uses around 55 terawatt hours (TWh) of fossil-fuel derived hydrogen. 

‘Green’ hydrogen is one way that countries are able to reduce carbon emissions. A consortium comprising Shell, Gasunie, and Groningen Seaports announced plans on February 27 for the NortH2 project which will see a Europe’s largest green hydrogen plant built in the Netherlands within the next decade. The plant will be fuelled by a new wind farm off the coast of Groningen province and will be able to produce 800,000 tonnes of hydrogen per year by 2040.

The consortium hopes that the plant will help cut the Netherlands’ CO2 emissions by around 7 megatons a year. The plans are still in the very early stages and the group will now look for additional industry partners to help develop the NortH2 project. The project still requires government permits, the assignment of new wind farm locations in the North Sea, and the announcement of subsidies for green energy from the Dutch government and EU. The NortH2 project is expected to start this year with a feasibility study. If the outcome is successful, the consortium hopes to start producing hydrogen by 2027.

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