Germany needs a hydrogen infrastructure Because an efficient, safe, affordable and climate-neutral energy supply will only be possible with the use of hydrogen. An efficient supra-regional hydrogen transport infrastructure is indispensable, especially for the integration of volatile renewable energy sources and a supply that meets demand at all times.
With the Hydrogen Network 2030 (in short: H2 Network 2030), the transmission system operators (TSOs) show solutions how transport needs can be met promptly on a supra-regional basis in the case of dynamic development of the hydrogen market.
Compared to the so-called “Start Net”, which the TSOs presented last year as part of the Network Development Plan Gas 2020-2030 (NDP Gas), the H2 network 2030 is significantly more extensive and now also takes into account the significantly higher volume target for national hydrogen requirements in the order of 90 to 110 TWh set out in the National Hydrogen Strategy.
By connecting producers and consumers, it will be possible to start building a pipeline-based hydrogen transport infrastructure soon.
Fundamentals of the H2 Network 2030
The TSOs started their scenario considerations and planning for the future hydrogen transport network in spring 2020. The basis is a scenario for the production and use of hydrogen in Germany developed together with the consulting firm 4Management based on the recognised dena Leitstudie I (TM95).
In addition to the forecast for 2050, the scenario also includes energy consumption quantities for the year 2030. The grid operators have carried out grid planning for the years 2030 and 2050 based on these consumption values. Until 2030, it is assumed that the pipeline-bound transport of hydrogen will mainly result from hydrogen requirements in the steel, chemical and refinery industries.
Parameters of the H2 Network 2030
The H2 network 2030 is about 5,100 km long, of which about 3,700 line kilometres are based on converted gas pipelines .
The scenario on which the H2 Network 2030 is based includes a hydrogen demand of 71 TWh (calorific value). The demand includes the energetic as well as the material hydrogen use. Quantities of hydrogen that are expected to be used as part of methane-based process chains in 2030 are not included in the assumed hydrogen requirements.
In the simulation, a peak demand of around 10 GWh/h of hydrogen was transported via the H2 Network 2030. Quantities in the transport and heat sectors will presumably not (yet) be transported via the transmission grid for the most part at this point, but will be generated predominantly on a decentralised basis.
The investment costs up to the year 2030 amount to about 6 billion euros. The estimate includes the investment costs for transport pipelines including compressors, which are necessary for interregional transport.
Disclaimer: The maps are schematic representations of pipeline routes, in which several pipelines can also run in parallel. Pipeline routes in which both converted pipelines and new-build pipelines run in parallel are shown as conversions.
Details of the H2 Network Planning
The H2 Network 2030 is based on a fluid mechanical grid simulation. For this purpose, the TSOs defined specific entry and exit capacities at all entry and exit points of the future network, based on the regionalisation of the capacities from the scenario for the industrial sector. In the case of the chemical industry and refineries, this was based on the available current production volumes at the sites that can be reached by pipelines by 2030. For the steel industry, the demand reported by the companies in the context of the market survey for the green gas variant of the NDP Gas 2020-2030 were taken into account, as it already exceeded the values in the study.
In the simulations, future hydrogen demand is primarily covered by imports. The capacities at the country borders were based on the assessment of the hydrogen production potential of the different production regions. Based on the targeted expansion of power-to-gas plants in the National Hydrogen Strategy, 5 GW of electrolysis capacity have been planned for 2030 in Germany, primarily located in northern Germany.
For the design of the grid, the TSOs considered different load scenarios depending on the availability of renewable energy and the existing cavern storage facilities.
In the current Gas Network Development Plan 2022-2032, the TSOs are working on a hydrogen transport network for the year 2032, which, unlike the scenario-based H2 Network 2030, is modelled based on demand. The basis for the H2 Network 2032 will be the results of the concrete market survey of hydrogen transport requirements (WEB – Hydrogen Production and Demand). Due to the different approaches (demand-based vs. scenario-based), the two networks will have differences. In particular, dovetailing with gas can only take place within the framework of the NDP Gas.
Planning on the 2030 grid does a good job of preparing for the 2022-2032 NEP Gas. At the same time, with their detailed scenario-based analysis based on network simulations, the FNB are providing an important basis for setting the political course now for an efficient supraregional hydrogen transport infrastructure and for realising the early opportunities for decarbonisation through the use of hydrogen.
 FNB Gas (2021): Scenario framework for the NEP Gas 2022-2032, p.39