Germany and Denmark to Cooperate on Hydrogen

29.03.2023 - Germany and Denmark have signed a joint Declaration of Intent to develop the European market for renewable hydrogen. The proposed collaboration extends to the construction of a land-based cross-border pipeline connecting northern Germany and western Denmark by 2028.

Denmark, which additionally is taking bold steps toward building up the market for carbon capture and storage with its Greensand project, is seeking to have between 4GW and 6GW of electrolysis capacity available by 2030 and at the same time aims to be a net exporter of certified renewable hydrogen, driven largely by wind energy.  

Germany’s National Hydrogen Strategy foresees hydrogen demand rising to  90-110 TWh/year by 2030, with most of the input to be covered by imports. A major part of this could be covered by the H2Med pipeline project, which would see 2 million t/y of the renewable fuel to be moved via pipeline between Portugal, Spain, France, and Germany — if the latter two countries don’t have another fallout over classification of nuclear power-made hydrogen as “green.”

Among its supply sources, Germany has signed a number of several memoranda of understanding for generation of renewable hydrogen via ammonia, for example with market players such as Air Products – in partnership with Oiltanking Deutschland, part of the Mabanaft group — In addition to power players from various countries and regions.

The Port of Hamburg shaping up to be  a major turnaround spot for the imported hydrogen, along with Rostock on the Baltic seacoast, where some of the LNG contingents are currently being unloaded.

German utility companies Gascade, Ontras and Terranets BW recently announced plans to create a 1,100 km pipeline system with up to 20 GW capacity to transport renewable hydrogen across the country from north to south. It could take up to five years for any product to flow, however, as the pipelines must be retrofitted to pump the more aggressive hydrogen through existing gas pipelines.

The first pipelines are planned to be converted in the eastern German states between Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Thuringia, starting in 2025, with the western states of Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate to be connected from 2028 and Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria by 2030.

After the network is linked to an offshore wind park along the coast of the Danish island Bornholm, which is expected for 2027, hydrogen could be pumped to countries such as Austria, Czech Republic, Poland and France by 2030, reports say.

To accelerate the creation of a pan-European hydrogen network, the EU Commission has budgeted €5.4 billion to support 41 projects. Brussels is also prepared to support plant owners with design and operating expertise.

Some of the funding is expected to come from the EU’s Projects of Common Interest. The Commission has also proposed creation of a European Hydrogen Bank (EHB) to support investment in sustainable hydrogen production and achieve climate-neutrality by 2050.

The REPowerEU directive targets internal production of 10 million t/y of renewable hydrogen by 2030, flanked by imports of the same dimension from other regions.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist