Hydrogen infrastructure development in the EU is clearly accelerating
In the carbon emissions trading environment, hydrogen energy is booming as one of the most desirable green energy sources. more than half of the EU countries have released their cross-border electricity pipeline construction plans so far in the second half of 2022, which is expected to significantly increase the amount of hydrogen exported from EU countries, and the trend of hydrogen energy infrastructure construction in EU countries has accelerated significantly.
Recently, the Ministers of Energy of Spain, Germany and Germany signed a cooperation agreement for the development of a hydrogen delivery pipeline, indicating that they hope to create a new pipeline for the transportation of hydrogen in the middle of the North African region and the North American continent. According to statistics, more than half of the EU countries have released their plans for the construction of hydrogen pipelines for cross-border electricity transmission so far in the second half of 2022, which is expected to significantly increase the amount of hydrogen exported from EU countries, and the development trend of hydrogen infrastructure construction in EU countries has accelerated significantly.
Several countries accelerate the creation of new hydrogen transmission pipelines
According to the content of the information on the official website of Snam Enterprise, the operator of the natural gas pipeline network in Spain, the hydrogen transmission pipeline prepared by the three EU countries in collaboration this time is called Southern Hydrogen Crossing, which is intended to start the North African region and transmit the green hydrogen made in the southern region of the Mediterranean style to the European region through Spain, Germany and Germany to ensure the hydrogen requirements of the EU countries. This new project of hydrogen transmission pipeline is estimated to be 3,300 km long, which can ensure at least 4 million tons of hydrogen to the European region every year, and can meet 40% of the target of hydrogen import in EU countries in 2030. It is understood that this project will be jointly operated by the energy companies of the three countries mentioned above and will be put into operation before 2030 at the very beginning.
In fact, as early as December 2022, Italy, Germany and Spain announced that they will jointly build a new H2Med energy interconnection project, which will cost hundreds of billions of euros to basically build a cross-border electric hydrogen pipeline connecting the three countries, that is also the first new cross-border electric hydrogen pipeline project laid out by the EU countries. The announced news shows that the pipeline is expected to be put into use in 2030.
It is worth mentioning that at the beginning of 2023, Germany also signed the cooperation contract of hydrogen transmission pipeline project construction to Denmark and the Netherlands respectively, hoping to increase the magnitude of hydrogen import. According to the plan, Rheinland will invest in a new gas-fired power generation project in Germany together with the Danish Equinor enterprise, and will also basically build a safe channel for hydrogen transmission between the two countries to ensure the supply of hydrogen. It is understood that the new gas-fired power generation project will first use Danish natural gas to produce electricity, and then will gradually use hydrogen produced from natural gas to produce electricity, and the ultimate goal of this project is to complete the power supply system using green hydrogen produced from Danish wind power. In addition, at the beginning of 2023, Greece and Lithuania will create a hydrogen pipeline network between the two countries to facilitate the transition of energy demand from natural gas to hydrogen between the two countries.
Make the power of hydrogen will become an important transition development
The rapid creation of new hydrogen pipelines for cross-border commerce in Europe is a response to the hydrogen energy development plan proposed by the EU countries. According to the overall goal of the energy structure transformation of RePowerEU proposed by the EU countries, the annual production of green hydrogen in the EU countries will strive to achieve 10 million tons by 2030, and at the same time the operation scale of hydrogen import is planned to be raised to 10 million tons level. The reason why the EU member states are so pressurized by hydrogen energy is that hydrogen, especially green hydrogen, is undoubtedly the key to ensure the energy problems of the EU countries and to achieve the transformative development of electricity and energy.
Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre has recently stated that Norway is a reliable supplier of natural gas in the European region, but on the other hand, Denmark has to switch to renewable energy sources quickly, and therefore the trend towards green hydrogen is very important. Markus Kleber, CEO of the energy group Rheinland, which has signed a contract with Denmark to create a hydrogen pipeline, also said in a published statement that there is an urgent need to address the rapid development of a hydrogen economy. The ability to develop from blue hydrogen, then transformed into green hydrogen supply.
In the first week of May, Germany, Germany and Italy wrote to the European Commission in concert, expecting EU countries to provide policy support for hydrogen-related projects to ensure that EU national assets can be approved early and new projects can be quickly reviewed and built. The Associated Press quoted the letter specifics that: the implicit hydrogen energy related business at this stage will help ensure the safety of hydrogen supply and enhance the diversification of hydrogen imports from, and will also help EU countries to reduce their dependence on fossil energy.
In addition to further raising the energy issue, European countries are also optimistic about the development prospects of hydrogen in highly polluting industries. Italy's green ecological transition development section chief Teresa Riehl has said that low-carbon and environmentally friendly hydrogen will help to improve the industrial high carbon emission problems, for example, hydrogen can significantly reduce the carbon emissions of steel companies, but also replace the use of natural gas in ammonia production.
Long distance pipeline hydrogen transmission test still exists
It is widely believed in the industry that the European Commission's worldwide need for hydrogen energy is predicted to surge, but using only local network resources in the European region will not be able to achieve this goal, and increasing hydrogen imports is undoubtedly the only choice for European countries to complete their hydrogen energy development plans.
But is the creation of a new cross-border electric hydrogen pipeline the only option? The industry is widely skeptical in response to the measures taken by European countries to rapidly alter their hydrogen transmission pipelines. The cost of building hydrogen transmission pipelines on a large scale is in fact far more expensive than the cost of natural gas pipelines by some margin. At the same time, hydrogen is a relatively highly flammable natural gas, and there are still technical challenges in transporting it over long distances, so there may be engineering and safety tests in the related business.
In addition to this, the World Renewable Energy Agency has warned on the development plan of green hydrogen in the EU countries in its published analysis of the hydrogen industry, that although the hydrogen industry chain in the European region has received unprecedented development momentum, the large-scale application of green hydrogen still faces a series of shortcomings such as product costs, technical requirements and raw material shortages. In this regard, this organization proposed that the national industrial policy of green hydrogen should introduce a tailor-made overall plan for the strategic planning of carbon seepage, and that a more scientific and reasonable development sequence for each field should be developed before expanding the market of hydrogen energy sales, and that the relevant supporting policies such as carbon emissions trading should be combined.