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    Will the North Sea have a hydrogen grid?

    March 21, 2023 - Change, Inc


      Copyright ChangeInc

      A network of hydrogen pipelines in the North Sea makes economic sense and is practicable. So say researchers from consulting firm DNV.

      The researchers a network of some 4,200 kilometers of hydrogen pipelines can be built North Sea. The cost of this is between 15 and 22 billion euros. By 2050, 300 terawatt-hour-equivalent green hydrogen could thus come ashore from the North Sea, the study shows. It is expected that by 2050 the demand for hydrogen in the EU will be at least 2,000 terawatt-hours-equivalent - almost 10 times what it is today.

      Such a network of pipelines can connect offshore wind farms - which can produce green hydrogen in addition to green electricity - to countries in northwestern Europe such as Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands. Part of the network also includes a pipeline between green energy giant Norway and Germany, for which in January.

      Pipelines cheaper

      Producing hydrogen gas in the North Sea and distributing it through pipelines is cheaper than importing hydrogen transported by ships to northwestern Europe, according to the researchers. Getting hydrogen from Africa and the Middle East is often seen as attractive, because the production of green hydrogen in sunshine-rich countries is more efficient than in Europe. But to move hydrogen safely, it is typically converted to ammonia - and then turned back into hydrogen gas. Thus, transportation drives up costs.

      In addition, the researchers point out the strategic importance of producing hydrogen in-house: the recent energy crisis has taught that overreliance on foreign countries can threaten energy security.

      Where does energy come ashore?

      The report identifies a striking advantage of hydrogen production over electricity production in the North Sea. By converting electricity into hydrogen, fewer power lines are needed. This can be useful because it is difficult to find places where power cables can come ashore. In fact, large portions of the North Sea coast are protected nature reserves.

      A power cable that was to connect a wind farm to Eemshaven via Schiermonnikoog was recently swept off the drawing board following objections from nature conservation organizations. Pipelines take up less space, and are also cheaper than power cables. That makes a hydrogen infrastructure in the North Sea extra attractive.


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