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Draft of the 2032 hydrogen core network

The hydrogen core network will be built up successively until 2032, starting with the first pipeline conversion in 2025. The diagram shows the planned commissioning of the expansion stage of the core network in 2032.

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Draft of the 2031 hydrogen core network

The hydrogen core network will be built up successively until 2032, starting with the first pipeline conversion in 2025. The diagram shows the planned commissioning of the expansion stage of the core network in 2031.

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Draft of the 2030 hydrogen core network

The hydrogen core network will be built up successively until 2032, starting with the first pipeline conversion in 2025. The diagram shows the planned commissioning of the expansion stage of the core network in 2030.

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Draft of the 2029 hydrogen core network

The hydrogen core network will be built up successively until 2032, starting with the first pipeline conversion in 2025. The diagram shows the planned commissioning of the expansion stage of the core network in 2029.

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Draft of the 2028 hydrogen core network

The hydrogen core network will be built up successively until 2032, starting with the first pipeline conversion in 2025. The diagram shows the planned commissioning of the expansion stage of the core network in 2028.

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Draft of the 2027 hydrogen core network

The hydrogen core network will be built up successively until 2032, starting with the first pipeline conversion in 2025. The diagram shows the planned commissioning of the expansion stage of the core network in 2027.

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Draft of the 2026 hydrogen core network

The hydrogen core network will be built up successively until 2032, starting with the first pipeline conversion in 2025. The diagram shows the planned commissioning of the expansion stage of the core network in 2026.

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Draft of the 2025 hydrogen core network

The hydrogen core network will be built up successively until 2032, starting with the first pipeline conversion in 2025. The diagram shows the planned commissioning of the expansion stage of the core network in 2025.

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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 chart shows the annual expansion stages of the hydrogen core network.

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Result of the measurement initiative: 0.2% of leaks cause 80% of measured emissions

This means that emissions can be significantly reduced quickly.


FNB measurement initiative: pilot project delivers robust results through representative measurements

Key data of the measurement initiative


Avoidance of methane losses and emissions through mobile compressors and the use of tapping and shut-off technology

Recompression vs. gas release using the example of OGE


FNB measurement initiative: bottom-up measurement methods

Qualitative detection methods and quantitative measurement methods are used in the pilot project.


FNB measurement initiative: top-down measurement methods

More than just a camera: drone flight provides additional security


FNB measurement initiative: causes of methane emissions and project focus.

Capturing fugitive methane emissions is an important component of emissions reduction.


Methane emissions from the gas industry have already been reduced by 78% thanks to continuous efforts

Methane emissions from the German gas industry in CO2 equivalents (2021)


Methane emissions in Germany: a total of 45 million tons of CO2 equivalents

Breakdown of German methane emissions by source (2022)


Number of reportable incidents in the German gas industry has been declining steadily for many years

Development of reportable events per km and year on all gas pipelines in Germany (1981-2021)


Design for the hydrogen core network (without logo)

In recent weeks, the transmission system operators (TSOs) have been working flat out on the final modeling of the hydrogen core network and its optimization. The total length of the optimized core network 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.

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Design for the hydrogen core network (with logo)

In recent weeks, the transmission system operators (TSOs) have been working flat out on the final modeling of the hydrogen core network and its optimization. The total length of the optimized core network 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.

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Planning status of hydrogen core network as of July 12, 2023 (without feed-in and feed-out)

On July 12, 2023, the transmission system operators published the planning status for a supraregional hydrogen core network by 2032. This current planning status does not yet correspond to the final design of the hydrogen core network. The route variants presented will be evaluated and optimized in subsequent steps, taking into account reports received as part of the “opportunity to comment” from potential hydrogen network operators. The pipelines shown have a length of around 11,200 km. The TSOs expect the hydrogen core network to be smaller after optimization.

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Planning status of hydrogen core network as of July 12, 2023 (with feed-in and feed-out).

On July 12, 2023, the transmission system operators published the planning status for a supraregional hydrogen core network by 2032. This current planning status does not yet correspond to the final design of the hydrogen core network. The route variants presented will be evaluated and optimized in subsequent steps, taking into account reports received as part of the “opportunity to comment” from potential hydrogen network operators. The pipelines shown have a length of around 11,200 km. The TSOs expect the hydrogen core network to be smaller after optimization.

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The German transmission system

With a length of approximately 40,000 km, the German transmission networks form the backbone of the gas transport system in Germany. The transmission network is divided into an H-gas and an L-gas transport network. These two transport networks are shown in the figure.


WEB messages on the expected hydrogen demand in the distribution network

As part of the Hydrogen Generation and Demand (WEB) market survey, numerous distribution system operators also submitted demand reports. This clearly shows that entire regions must be developed with an efficient hydrogen infrastructure at an early stage and on a large scale in order to be able to ensure the supply of a large number of customers via the distribution networks.

The reports submitted by distribution system operators in the NEP Gas 2022-2032 result in a withdrawal volume of 54 TWh for the year 2032. The further increase in volumes in the following years underscores the significant demand for hydrogen in the distribution network and the efforts of distribution network operators to contribute to climate protection in the long term.


Interdependencies in the conversion from natural gas to hydrogen

Similar to the L-/H-gas conversion, the conversion of network areas from natural gas to hydrogen involves interdependence between the parties involved.

Efficient conversion of an area along a transmission system operator’s line in terms of network expansion can only be ensured if all connected customers (distribution system operators or industrial customers connected to the transmission system) can convert to hydrogen in the same period of time. This is the only way to avoid economically inefficient, parallel hydrogen or methane pipelines, which may only be needed temporarily until all consumers along a pipeline have been completely converted.

In the regular process, the resolution of the above dependency takes place through the formation of cross-network operator, area-related working groups (also within the framework of the respective GTP creation) as well as through the conclusion of multilateral changeover schedules in which all mutual dependencies between the participants are assessed. This procedure has already proven useful for the L/H gas conversion and has thus been tested in practice.


Possible process from hydrogen demand notification to hydrogen conversion roadmap.

The basis for planning the conversion of pipelines to hydrogen by the transmission system operators is initially the specific demand reports from various demand carriers (distribution system operators or industrial customers directly connected to the transmission system). These demand reports were secured via Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the NEP Gas 2022-2032 before they were included in the modeling of the transmission system operators in the NEP Gas process. For the demand reports of the distribution system operators, the transmission system operators first carry out a so-called hydrogen test in the current NEP gas cycle. In the future, the hydrogen testing process will be replaced as soon as demand notifications with a higher level of commitment are received or corresponding MoUs are concluded between transmission system operators and demand carriers. The conversion to hydrogen is made finally binding by the conclusion of a conversion schedule between the transmission system operator and the consumer.

The conversion roadmap defines the points at which a supply of hydrogen can be guaranteed by a defined deadline. The technical lead time for conversion to hydrogen is significantly longer than for conversion from L-gas to H-gas. In this respect, it can be assumed that conversion schedules between the transmission system operator and the demand side would also have to be concluded with a significantly longer lead time than is usual in comparison with the L/H gas conversion (there, at the latest 2 years and 8 months according to the Gas Cooperation Agreement). In this respect, the entire process, starting with the first demand reports and building on this, the agreement of MoUs must also be started much earlier.


Sequence of the conversion to hydrogen at the end customer (private household)

The federal government is working to ensure that, as far as possible, every new heating system will be powered by at least 65% renewable energy (on balance sheet or physical) from 2024 [BMWK 2022]. This includes all renewable energies, i.e. also green and climate-neutral gaseous energy sources such as biomethane or green hydrogen. However, for all decarbonization options to be fully exploited, a technology-open approach is needed that takes into account all climate-neutral gases such as blue hydrogen.

Market space conversion to hydrogen is not feasible until as many gas appliances as possible have been installed that can run on natural gas and biomethane as well as hydrogen. From 2025 at the latest, the manufacturers organized in the Federal Association of the German Heating Industry (BDH) will be launching series devices on the market that can initially be set to methane or methane-hydrogen mixtures and converted to a hydrogen device by an installer with little effort by means of a conversion kit. By installing these hydrogen-capable appliances, the customer creates the conditions for a climate-neutral heat supply, enabling him to meet the 65% renewable energy target initially via the balance sheet purchase and later via the physical purchase of hydrogen.


The path to climate neutrality on site

Each distribution network in Germany has its own regional characteristics. For climate neutrality to be achieved locally, these specifics must always be taken into account. Therefore, after the analysis and planning process in an initial phase, the expansion phase will begin to upgrade the distribution networks or convert them to other green and climate-neutral gases in order to reach the target state by 2045 at the latest. In addition to the technical feasibility and availability of green and climate-neutral gases, it is of central importance that distribution system operators promptly enter into continuous dialog with users, producers, politicians and other stakeholders such as installers, heating manufacturers, etc., and conduct this dialog steadily and permanently.

Therefore, the Gas Grid Area Transformation Plan (GTP) envisions working with local business and other local stakeholders to develop decarbonization solutions that are effective and targeted for broad adoption. These region-specific solutions and conversion paths must be enabled and flanked by appropriate, nationwide laws and regulations.


Hydrogen network planning process in the context of a holistic energy system approach

An overview of the hydrogen network planning concept in the context of a holistic energy system view is shown in the figure. The concept presented for future hydrogen network planning will be integrated into the proven gas network development planning process. At the same time, by taking a holistic view of the energy system, new elements are also proposed to enable gas grid planning for hydrogen and methane to make a stronger contribution to achieving the targets of the Federal Climate Protection Act in the future.


Hydrogen testing concept

Based on the modeling results of the hydrogen variant 2032 in the NEP Gas 2022-2032, the transmission system operators perform a hydrogen test for the year 2032 for the reported demands of the distribution system operators.

The objective of the hydrogen test is to identify network interconnection points (NCPs) or exit zones of the distribution system operators that can be reached with a hydrogen infrastructure without further network expansion measures on the part of the transmission system operators based on the results of the hydrogen variant for the year 2032. Furthermore, it will be examined whether a simultaneous supply with methane could be considered for the identified NCPs in principle, so that blending is possible at the distribution grid level. If there is a possibility to convert first areas or individual NKPs of the distribution system operators to 100% hydrogen, first potential “hydrogen conversion areas” could be identified, analogous to the planning process of the L-H gas market area conversion.

Accordingly, the transmission system operators determine the first potentials for a possible initial use of hydrogen in the distribution system on the basis of the reports received from the distribution system operators and the modeling results of the hydrogen variant 2032. The transmission system operators are already in close contact with the distribution system operators in order to develop initial joint concepts. The planned procedure for hydrogen testing is shown in the figure.


Grid expansion measures Hydrogen variant 2032

The hydrogen network 2032 presented in the interim status for the NEP Gas 2022-2032 shows the result of the modeling of a Germany-wide hydrogen network for the year 2032 based on the MoU requirements, the results of the network development plan Gas 2020-2030 and the pipeline reports of the transmission system operators and other potential hydrogen network operators as well as on existing parallel pipeline systems in the transmission system. This results in a hydrogen network with a pipeline length of 7,600-8,500 km by 2032.


Grid expansion measures Hydrogen variant 2027

The hydrogen network 2027 presented in the interim status for the NEP Gas 2022-2032 shows the result of the modeling of a Germany-wide hydrogen network for the year 2027 based on the MoU requirements, the results of the network development plan Gas 2020-2030 and the pipeline reports of the transmission system operators and other potential hydrogen network operators as well as on existing parallel pipeline systems in the transmission system. This will result in a hydrogen network with a pipeline length of 2,900-3,000 km by 2027.


Overview of decentralized hydrogen projects with a focus on the distribution grid

Whether small or on an industrial scale, research in nature or ready for practical application, narrowly focused or spanning value-adding stages: the listed selection of over 30 projects at the distribution grid level gives an impression of the current, diverse decarbonization activities of distribution grid operators spread across Germany. These underscore the relevance of the distribution network to the development of the hydrogen economy. The figure depicts current hydrogen projects related to the distribution grid.


IPCEI location map of the BMWi from May 28, 2021

On May 28, 2021, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), together with the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), published a list of 62 major projects eligible for potential funding under the IPCEI-Hydrogen program. The funding amount of EUR 8 billion is expected to trigger investments totaling EUR 33 billion [BMWi 2021].

In addition to projects for hydrogen production and numerous concepts for its use, several infrastructure projects are also part of this program.

With the realization of these IPCEI infrastructure projects, a first supraregional hydrogen network will be created from the Dutch border via Hamburg and Salzgitter, the industrial region of Halle/Leipzig and via Berlin to Rostock. In addition, cross-border regional projects, particularly in North Rhine-Westphalia and Saarland, have also been selected for the IPCEI hydrogen program.

Currently, the specified application documents are being reviewed by the authorities. According to current information, a final decision on the funding program and subsequent investment decisions is expected by the end of 2022.


Hydrogen network 2032

The hydrogen network 2032 presented in the interim status for the NEP Gas 2022-2032 shows the result of the modeling of a Germany-wide hydrogen network for the year 2032 based on the MoU requirements, the results of the network development plan Gas 2020-2030 and the pipeline reports of the transmission system operators and other potential hydrogen network operators as well as on existing parallel pipeline systems in the transmission system. This results in a hydrogen network with a pipeline length of 7,600-8,500 km by 2032.


New LNG plants connected to the FNB network

In the LNG security of supply variants of the interim status for the NEP Gas 2022-2032, the network expansion for LNG facilities at the locations Brunsbüttel, Rostock, Stade and Wilhelmshaven is investigated in three different modeling variants. The Brunsbüttel and Stade sites are already included in the baseline variant, while the Rostock and Wilhelmshaven sites are added for the LNG supply security variants.


Daily intra-German gas flows at long-distance grid level reflect necessary design of gas system for seasonality of heat market

The gas infrastructure enables secure supply even at the lowest temperatures. The comparison of heating technologies must take into account that the demand for heat in Germany is seasonally very
fluctuates. The generation, storage, and grid infrastructure must not only provide the required maximum thermal output on a seasonal basis, but also during extreme winters. Hydrogen can absorb peak heat loads that would massively challenge the power system if electrification were to be widespread.


Power-to-gas increases the efficiency of the overall system

Gas grids today transport more than twice the amount of energy of electricity grids and are designed to meet high peak load demands. Linking electricity and gas through power-to-gas plants significantly increases overall efficiency.


Gas storage capacity compared to electricity storage capacity in Germany

With regard to energy storage, the gas network offers important prerequisites for the success of the energy transition. It is imperative that electricity from wind power and photovoltaic plants can be stored temporarily so that Germany’s potential for renewable electricity generation can be exploited. On the electricity side, no significant long-term storage potentials are to be expected in the long term. With the help of the gas infrastructure, on the other hand, the energy for a significant part of Germany’s annual electricity demand can be stored long-term in the German gas storage facilities alone and made available again flexibly and at any location when needed. This reduces the necessity to lower production, avoids unnecessary downtime costs, and creates flexibility for the electricity grid.


Green gas quota is the most economically sensible instrument for market ramp-up

Shares and quantities of the gases considered to meet the green gas quota.


International cooperation in the reduction of methane emissions

The transmission system operators (TSOs) are involved internationally. They support climate targets as well as the EU’s strategy to reduce methane emissions.


Mobile compressors can significantly reduce operational emissions

Recompression vs. gas release using the example of OGE


FNB Gas reduction target 2025

Transmission system operators (TSOs) are targeting a 50 percent reduction in their methane emissions by 2025 compared to 2015.


FNB measurement initiative: next steps

The transmission system operators (TSOs) are consistently pursuing their strategy and the joint reduction target with further reduction measures.


FNB measurement initiative: top-down measurement methods

More than just a camera: drone flight provides additional security


FNB measurement initiative: bottom-up measurement methods

Qualitative detection methods and quantitative measurement methods are used in the pilot project.


FNB measurement initiative: pilot project delivers robust results through representative measurements

Key data of the measurement initiative


FNB measurement initiative: causes of methane emissions and project focus.

Capturing fugitive methane emissions is an important component of emissions reduction.


FNB measurement initiative: measurements throughout Germany

Project scope


Number of reportable incidents in the German gas industry has been declining steadily for many years

Development of reportable events per km and year on all gas pipelines in Germany (1981-2017)