The North Sea has the potential to become the site of massive offshore hydrogen production from offshore wind and a hydrogen pipeline network connecting northwest European countries, a study by consultancy DNV showed on Thursday.
The study, commissioned to DNV by infrastructure system operators GASCADE and Fluxys, "highlights the significant advantages of an offshore hydrogen backbone in the North and Baltic Seas," Belgium's Fluxys said in a statement.
"The EU expects demand for climate-neutral hydrogen to reach 2,000 terawatt hours (TWh) by 2050, and DNV sees the potential to produce 300 TWh/a of hydrogen using electricity from offshore wind farms in the North Sea by 2050," Ulrich Benterbusch, Managing Director at Germany's GASCADE, said.
"This would make a significant contribution to reducing dependence on energy imports. This positive aspect for increasing supply security can hardly be valued highly enough after the experiences of the recent past."
According to the study, an investment of $15.9 billion-$23.3 billion (15–22 billion euros) could build the North Sea hydrogen backbone with pipelines of a total length of 4,200 kilometers (2,610 miles).
"An offshore hydrogen backbone would, due to high economies of scale, enable the transport of hydrogen from offshore areas to end-users very efficiently. The technical realisation is new, but possible with today's technologies; and it would likely account for 10% or less of the total levelised cost of hydrogen produced offshore," DNV said in the study.
Another key takeaway from the report reads that "The setup of an offshore hydrogen backbone in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea is doable, economically feasible and helps to facilitate the European energy transition."
GASCADE and Fluxys are developing the AquaDuctus project for a 400-km (250 miles) hydrogen pipeline from offshore to Germany's onshore. The companies earlier this year applied to the European Commission for Project of Common Interest (PCI) status in a major step forward in their plans for an offshore pipeline for green hydrogen in the North Sea.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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