By 2030, the European Hydrogen Backbone largely consists of several separated networks and these regional backbones consist of mostly repurposed natural gas pipelines, with the exception of Greece and Sweden which both have a limited natural gas network today, Trend reports with reference to the hydrogen legislation paper prepared by the Gas for Climate consortium.
The total length of the hydrogen networks in the nine countries in Table already amounts to over 9,100 kilometres, of which over 64 percent consist of repurposed natural gas pipelines.
New dedicated hydrogen pipelines (in km)
Repurposed natural gas pipelines (in km)
Total length of national backbone (in km)
It should be noted that the April 2021 EHB maps did not include a 2030 backbone for Greece. However, since then the ambitious 8 billion Euro White Dragon10 IPCEI project has been announced, which foresees a new dedicated pipeline to connect the potential production sites with Athens and Corinth industrial areas, Thessaloniki, Kavala and potentially other neighbouring systems.
The investment for the 9 countries considered were calculated based on the EHB assumptions. For 2030, the investment needs were calculated only taking into account the costs for hydrogen pipelines, excluding compression costs. This leads to an investment need for 2030 of around €11 billion for the nine countries represented in this paper.
These investment needs show the relatively modest investment (compared to investments on the demand and supply side) needed to start up hydrogen infrastructure developments in Europe, providing the important first step towards a pan-European liquid hydrogen market. Further research into the costs of creating the 2030 national backbones will be needed to obtain an improved insight. Investment costs per country are expected to differ, due to the diameter of the pipeline as well as the length and the share of new versus repurposed pipelines. It should be noted that these larger pipelines will be able to handle significantly higher throughput of hydrogen. As in the EHB analysis report, the capacities for some pipeline scenarios were set below their maximum to minimise the levelised cost of hydrogen transport. The same cost assumptions were then applied to the lengths of each type of pipeline determined by the TSOs during the mapping process to arrive at a rough estimate of the required investment costs.