Italian, Austrian and German Ministries of Energy have now given their support for the Southern hydrogen corridor or SoutH2 Corridor – a hydrogen-ready pipeline corridor connecting North Africa to central Europe. They have also endorsed the pipeline’s development within the EU and for the respective infrastructure projects to obtain the status of Project of Common Interest (PCI).
The new consortium of energy companies Snam (Italy), Trans Austria Gasleitung (TAG) and Gas Connect Austria (GCA) (Austria) and Bayernets (Germany) are seeking to address the challenge of transporting renewable hydrogen over long distances efficiently.
The three ministries have demonstrated their support by signing the joint PCI letter. This letter serves as a political endorsement for the development of a dedicated hydrogen-ready pipeline corridor, which spans approximately 3,300 kilometers and also serves as an integral component of the wider European Hydrogen Backbone.
The pipeline infrastructure will play a crucial role in enabling the seamless transmission of hydrogen from the Southern Mediterranean to European markets, where it will contribute to de-carbonization efforts and meet the growing demand for clean energy.
Its development will guarantee security of supply and is crucial for creating an interconnected and diversified hydrogen backbone. Furthermore, with a hydrogen import capacity of more than 4 million tonnes per annum (Mpta) from North Africa, the corridor could deliver 40% of the REPowerEU import target, Snam said.
The southern hydrogen corridor is expected to be fully operational as early as 2030. It consists of the individual PCI project candidates:
- “Italian H2 Backbone” promoted by Snam Rete Gas;
- “H2 Readiness of the TAG pipeline system” promoted by Trans Austria Gasleitung GmbH;
- “H2 Backbone WAG + Penta-West” promoted by Gas Connect Austria GmbH; and
- “HyPipe Bavaria – The Hydrogen Hub” promoted by bayernets GmbH.
The partnership is focused on leveraging existing repurposed midstream infrastructure to facilitate the transportation of hydrogen, supplemented by the construction of new dedicated infrastructure where needed. This approach allows for a cost-effective transportation solution, with a significant portion of the pipeline network (over 70%) being repurposed.
By combining repurposed infrastructure and strategically located renewable energy sources, the partnership aims to create a sustainable and economically viable hydrogen supply chain. This approach not only facilitates the efficient transportation of hydrogen but also contributes to the overall competitiveness and attractiveness of renewable hydrogen as a clean energy solution.
As explained, renewable hydrogen would be largely produced in North Africa, for which the partners have collected signed letters of support from producers intending to produce c. 2.5 Mtpa of renewable hydrogen.
It would then flow North, serving the hard-to-abate demand clusters of Italy (e.g. Augusta, Taranto and northern Italy), Austria (e.g. Styria, Vienna and Linz) and Germany (e.g. Burghausen and Ingolstadt). Transportation of domestic production in each of the member states would also be facilitated through the SoutH2 Corridor.
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Source: offshore-energy.biz (2023), Snam (2023).