Jörg Steinbach (SPD), Brandenburg’s Economics Minister, wants hydrogen pipelines built quickly to supply huge steel, glass, cement, and chemical factories with raw material and district heating plants with climate-friendly energy.

Steinbach presented the feasibility assessment for the gradual building of the “Brandenburg hydrogen transport network” in the Potsdam State Chancellery on Thursday. It would start with 687 kilometers in 2030 and reach 1102 kilometers in 2045. It will cost 1.2 billion euros.

603 kilometers of natural gas pipes will be converted and 499 kilometers created, which could explode. Steinbach stated that Brandenburg’s raw materials business depends on the network. The minister advised against ignoring the start-up phase if Germany intends to be climate-neutral by 2045. Brandenburg transports hydrogen to southern Germany and Berlin.

Ontras will build an H2 starting network from Rostock to Brandenburg, funded by the EU. North-south hydrogen long-distance lines are planned between Brandenburg a der Havel and Potsdam in Potsdam-Mittelmark and Havelland. Steinbach said these lines must be ready by 2028 per EU requirements. This complicates approval processes. The 2030 research also proposes Schwedt and Lusatia lines.

Solar and wind farms to generate hydrogen

The Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Infrastructure and Geothermal Energy led the feasibility study consortium (IEG). This will increase Brandenburg’s hydrogen demand from approximately five terawatt hours in 2030 to 40 in 2045.

The Eisenhüttenstadt steelworks and Brandenburg and Berlin transport and district heating need it. It should come from Brandenburg wind and solar parks via electrolysis or from offshore wind farms in the Baltic Sea via the ports of Rostock and Lubmin.

The study found the greatest promise in old open-cast mining areas in Lusatia and locations with strong north winds, such as Prignitz, Ostprignitz-Ruppin, and Uckermark. Hydrogen production might reach 21 terawatt hours by 2045, according to the report.

Florian Temmler from Infracon, which prepared this component of the study, noted that existing lines, protected regions, and flood-prone areas were considered in route recommendations. By 2035, 260 kilometers of new lines will be completed in Havelland near Brandenburg a der Havel to Saxony-Anhalt, Radegast to Saxony, and Lusatia by 2040, 68 kilometers of branch lines (to thermal power stations). Potsdam, Rathenow, Frankfurt a der Oder, Welzow, and Lusatia ring closures until 2045.

The specialists have calculated the pipe thickness and the worst-case hydrogen flow through the network (only imports via Rostock and Lubmin). The study estimates 15.25 million euros in annual network operation expenditures.

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