Europe’s First: In the Netherlands, the construction of the first hydrogen pipeline network has begun, as a part of a future national network
In the vicinity of Rotterdam, the construction of the first segment of an extensive national hydrogen network with a total length of 1,200 kilometers has been initiated. Dutch authorities have announced that their country will become the first in Europe to have such infrastructure, according to information in the specialized field.
Nederlandse Gasunie, the Dutch operator specializing in natural gas infrastructure and transport, has begun the installation of an initial 30-kilometer hydrogen pipeline. This marks the first phase of an extensive national network planned to span 1,200 kilometers with an estimated value of 1.5 billion euros.
This initial section, valued at 100 million euros, will start from the new port and industrial park Tweede Maasvlakte (Maasvlakte 2), located near the city of Rotterdam, and will connect to the Shell refinery in Pernis.
The purpose of this project is to connect industrial centers in the Netherlands and subsequently link them with those in Germany and Belgium. This network will include storage facilities, including a salt cavern in the northern part of the country.
The European Union provides significant subsidies to promote both low-carbon hydrogen production and demand. The hydrogen industry is still in its early stages, and technologies of this kind have a significant journey to become competitive compared to hydrogen produced from fossil sources.
Gasunie is leading this project through its subsidiary, HyNetwork Services, which has selected Visser en Smit Hanab as the contractor for the current phase. The company has stated that this hydrogen network, which will be the first of its kind in Europe, will enable the development of a significant renewable energy production hub in the country.
The electricity generated by wind farms and solar farms is used to produce green hydrogen through electrolysis, which breaks down water molecules. When the facility is powered by nuclear energy, the result is known as pink hydrogen. There is also a low-carbon variant called blue hydrogen, which can be produced directly from fossil sources, provided that carbon dioxide is captured and permanently stored during the process.
The first segment of this new network is scheduled to be operational by 2025. Gasunie has stated that 85% of this infrastructure will use existing natural gas pipelines, a solution that is 75% more cost-effective than building new infrastructure, according to their calculations.
The European Union is developing its own initiative, known as the “European Hydrogen Backbone”, which involves the installation of 28,000 kilometers of hydrogen pipelines by the end of the decade. The plan is then to double the network in the following ten years, reaching 53,000 kilometers.
Regarding other developments in this field, German transmission system operators OGE (Open Grid Europe) and Nowega have recently started the conversion of a 46-kilometer pipeline in Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia from natural gas to hydrogen. It is anticipated that this project will also be completed by 2025.