Can Germany Become a Hydrogen Superpower?
03.14.2024 By Tank Terminals - NEWS

March 14, 2024 [CEPA]- In Ancient Rome, roads converged on Italy. In 21st-century Europe, new hydrogen corridors will lead to Germany.

 

The corridors represent a grand endeavor designed to facilitate the production, importation, and transportation across Europe of hydrogen. They will form the backbone of a revolutionary pivot away from dependence on Russian gas. Hydrogen can complement intermittent renewable sources such as wind and solar power, providing a reliable energy supply.

The goal is ambitious: to enable the transportation of a total of 20 million tons of this gas per year by 2030. Six supply corridors that would be directly or indirectly connected to Germany. These corridors consist of pipelines, production and storage facilities, port terminals, and shipping lanes across seas, rivers, and land. Initially, the corridors will connect local supply and demand in different parts of Europe, before expanding and connecting Europe with neighboring regions. One of them, the Central European Hydrogen Corridor (CEHC), would pump this gas from Ukraine.

Germany needs an alternative to gas, given its large energy-intensive industries and its plans to phase out coal and lignite plants. H2 MOBILITY Germany is building a nationwide network of hydrogen filling stations. Gasunie and Thyssengas are setting up this gas’s transportation infrastructure connecting Germany’s North Sea coast with the industrial Ruhr Valley. This “hydrogen core network” aims to repurpose existing gas infrastructure and is meant to be completed by 2032.

Despite this progress, Germany’s ambitious energy plans still must overcome serious obstacles. Hydrogen can cause embrittlement in certain materials such as steel and cast iron out of which natural gas pipelines are typically made, leading to safety risks and pipeline degradation. Careful selection of pipeline materials, coatings, and design are required to mitigate this risk.

 

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