On November 15, 2023, FNB Gas e.V. submitted the draft application for the hydrogen core network to the Federal Network Agency and the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection. This marks the next milestone in the realization of the core network.
Key data of the hydrogen core network design
The total length of the optimized core grid is around 9,700 km . Of this, 710 km is accounted for by pipelines from 17 other potential hydrogen network operators, which the TSOs received as part of the opportunity to comment on the first planning status by 28.7.2023. The core network consists mainly of converted natural gas pipelines (approx. 60%). The investment costs amount to € 19.8 billion €. The feed-in and feed-out capacities amount to around 100 GW and 87 GW respectively. The draft of the core grid thus fulfills the goals of a Germany-wide, expandable, efficient and quickly realizable hydrogen grid by the target year 2032, as set out in the EnWG amendment on the hydrogen core grid. This puts Germany at the forefront of infrastructure development in Europe.
What are the next steps?
The Federal Network Agency consulted the FNB’s draft application via its website by 08.01.2024. An evaluation and review is currently being carried out by the authorities. The TSOs will take the results into account in their final joint application for the core grid in consultation with the BNetzA. The submission deadline for the joint application for the core network was set by the BNetzA in accordance with Art. § Section 28 r para. 2 sentences 1 and 2 EnWG to May 21, 2024. The prerequisite for the submission of the joint application for the FNB is the legal anchoring of a financing model for the hydrogen core network that is suitable for the capital market. The corresponding amendment to the EnWG is currently in the parliamentary process (find out more here).
Once the official joint application has been submitted, it will be consulted and reviewed again by the Federal Network Agency. Approval is granted within two months of the complete application being submitted.
The core network is the starting signal for the hydrogen infrastructure in Germany with a focus on the transport level – comparable to a highway. In the first stage, it forms the basic framework for the development of the hydrogen infrastructure in Germany. This basic framework is to be further developed by means of integrated network development planning for gas and hydrogen in the second stage – similar to the federal and state highways with connections in cities and municipalities. You can find out in detail here what will happen after the publication of the draft.
Development of the hydrogen core network
The hydrogen core network will be built up successively until 2032, starting with the first pipeline conversion in 2025. The planned commissioning of the annual expansion stages of the core network in the years up to 2032 can be seen in the following diagram.
Looking back: From vision to mission
Since January 2020, the TSOs have been actively working on the development of the German hydrogen network. Many of the earlier considerations and experiences have been incorporated into the planning and design of the hydrogen core network. The most important milestones to date at a glance: