German gas transmissions operators have presented plans for an 9 700-km 'core' hydrogen pipeline network crisscrossing the country. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), in a Twitter post, explained that 60% of the pipelines in the network will consist of existing, repurposed natural gas pipelines, with the remaining 40% built from scratch.
The new hydrogen core network will cost €19.8bn and start transporting hydrogen in 2025.
FNB Gas, an amalgamation of German regional gas transport companies comprising Gasunie Deutschland, Open Grid Europe (OGE), Ontras, Gascade, Thyssengas and Fluxys, is charged with overarching responsibility for transporting the hydrogen. All share the conviction that the development of a hydrogen pipeline network is a fundamental precondition for optimizing the hydrogen economy. To this end the regional gas companies are in sync with the German government. Hydrogen everywhere can pave the way to climate neutrality, where electricity from renewable sources is no solution. This is the case for example in the steel, chemical and cement industries.
Companies which are presently using natural gas, oil or coal to power their manufacturing processes will have to convert everything compatible with hydrogen. Also airplane and ship transportation must re-think their operational models as they seek climate neutrality and there is simply no alternative to hydrogen in this regard.
Germany is already looking beyond its borders as it plans, together with Italy, to build hydrogen-ready gas pipelines, potentially allowing imports from North Africa.