The ministers of Austria, Germany, and Italy have jointly written to the European Commission, urging support for a group of infrastructure projects to transport green hydrogen from North Africa, in a bid to create a European market for low-carbon fuel.
These projects would be given the status of the EU Project of Common Interest (PCI), which would provide access to specific European funds and permits. The move puts pressure on Brussels to get priority status, which could help achieve the goal of increasing production and imports of renewable hydrogen across Europe.
Green hydrogen, produced using renewable electricity, is becoming increasingly popular as a fuel source for reducing the use of fossil fuels in industrial processes such as steel production. The proposed infrastructure would link European hydrogen demand poles, such as factories, to renewable hydrogen imports from North Africa and contribute to the construction of a European hydrogen network.
Among the projects seeking support is Austria’s Gas Connect hydrogen pipeline, which would connect Germany, Austria, and Slovakia. Another proposal involves the conversion of a gas pipeline owned by Snam, which departs from Italy and arrives in Slovakia via Austria and would be made suitable for the transport of hydrogen.
The ministers’ letter emphasizes the potential benefits of these projects for enhancing supply security, diversifying import sources, and reducing dependence on fossil fuels. The letter states, “The development of candidate projects will contribute to the security of supply and greater diversification of import sources while reducing dependence on fossil fuels.”
If the projects receive EU support, they could play a key role in facilitating the adoption of renewable hydrogen as a clean energy source, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and mitigating climate change.