German National Hydrogen Strategy : Germany Develops a National Hydrogen Grid

German National Hydrogen Strategy : Germany Develops a National Hydrogen Grid

The energy world is getting cleaner.

In Germany, gas operators have presented a proposal that would create a national hydrogen grid.

Pipeline operators plan to create a hydrogen transport pipeline, the “H2 Startnetz”, that stretches over 1200 kilometers, making it the world’s largest hydrogen grid. Planners hope the grid will be able to transport hydrogen across the country by the year 2030, significantly impacting Germany’s energy use patterns.

Map of planned German hydrogen grid ‘H2 Startznetz’

Photo: FNB Gas

The implementation of a wide-scale hydrogen grid will ultimately increase the availability of hydrogen as a cost-effective and clean energy source. Currently, existing distribution grids for coal, oil, and natural gas create a significant competitive advantage over hydrogen as preferred energy sources.

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However, unlike its alternatives, the use of hydrogen creates no harmful byproducts. The byproducts of hydrogen combustion for electricity production are solely water and heat.

Elimination of the harmful byproducts from coal, oil, and natural gas use dramatically lessens the adverse impact upon the environment.

The world’s first liquiefied hydrogen carrier, the Suiso Frontier

Photo: Kawasaki Heavy Industries

FNB Gas managing director Inga Posch believes that using hydrogen in the new energy grid will give “industry sectors such as steel or chemicals the possibility to become climate neutral” (Radowitz).

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Once the transport barrier is addressed, hydrogen will likely become the preferred energy source due to its decreased impact upon the environment.

The creation of the H2 Startnetz addresses and potentially eliminates this transport barrier.

The movement of hydrogen will become cost-effective and efficient once H2 Startnetz connects the thirty-one green gas projects for hydrogen in Northern Germany to the consumption centers in North-Rhine Westphalia and Lower Saxony.

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The construction of the hydrogen grid will cost Germany 660 million euros. Although a significant expense, the use of pre-existing gas pipelines as a template will generate cost savings.

About 1,100 kilometers of the 1,200-kilometer hydrogen grid will use the pre-existing gas pipelines. The last 100 kilometers would be new construction.

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While the German government’s presentation on its national hydrogen strategy was delayed due to the Covid-19 outbreak, Germany still continues to prepare to change the energy world.

Not only can the hydrogen grid make certain industry sectors climate neutral, but it can also lead to a more environmentally-friendly future for the world.

Written by Zachary Ostrow & Edited by Alexander Fleiss