GASCADE and Fluxys have applied to the European Commission for Project of Common Interest (PCI) status for the AquaDuctus project, an offshore pipeline for green hydrogen in the North Sea, Trend reports January 24 with reference to Fluxys.
"The offshore pipeline, which will be over 400 km long when completed, will become a linchpin of Germany's and Europe's future offshore hydrogen infrastructure," explains GASCADE Managing Director Christoph von dem Bussche.
That is because the pipeline is designed as a 'backbone', able to collect hydrogen from multiple production sites while also offering the potential to link up with other international hydrogen flows through the North Sea. Hydrogen will be taken to the German coast via the offshore pipeline and fed into the onshore hydrogen network there. In this way, AquaDuctus will provide large-scale offshore hydrogen infrastructure in the German North Sea for hydrogen to be imported into Germany.
The first step will see the SEN-1 hydrogen wind farm connected to AquaDuctus, with flows to start in 2030. In subsequent years, wind farms further offshore in Germany's exclusive economic zone may be linked up as well as hydrogen infrastructure operated by other North Sea countries. By 2035, the offshore pipeline is to develop into a main hydrogen corridor carrying up to one million tonnes of hydrogen a year into Germany. Based on the gas and hydrogen package currently being negotiated at European level, the two long-standing transmission system operators plan the AquaDuctus offshore pipeline as a regulated open access infrastructure available to all future operators of hydrogen wind farms, thereby strengthening security of supply in the future.
A study by the European Hydrogen Backbone initiative says that the total expected hydrogen demand could potentially be met by green hydrogen produced in the EU and UK, using renewable electricity. Yet producing such quantities of green hydrogen domestically is subject to public acceptance of an accelerated expansion of renewable installed capacity, financing, regulation and quality standard setting. It is anticipated that the economics of green hydrogen production costs will improve, allowing a rapid scale-up. In addition to green hydrogen, large quantities of relatively cheap blue hydrogen can be produced in Europe to quickly drive emission reductions and accelerate the pace of the transition. The study also shows that hydrogen imports by pipeline can provide an attractive complement to domestic supply.