The European Clean Hydrogen Alliance has identified six potential corridors for the development of hydrogen infrastructure across Europe.
All six corridors would be directly or indirectly connected to Germany due to the expected surge in demand for hydrogen, according to a new study by the alliance.
One of the most promising routes is the Southeastern Corridor, which will offer a gateway to the Middle East and North Africa. This route is specifically relevant for new green steel projects and existing industry in Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, and Czechia. The authors of the Learnbook on Hydrogen Supply Corridors state that due to the area’s vicinity to North Africa and the Middle East, the corridor could facilitate hydrogen imports from neighboring countries via shipping or subsea pipeline transportation. The Southeastern Corridor also offers abundant renewable potential, thanks to land availability and high-capacity factors for solar and onshore wind. Depleted gas fields in Greece, Czechia, Slovakia, Austria, and salt caverns in Germany will be used to provide a cost-effective hydrogen storage solution.
The projected demand for hydrogen along the Southeastern Corridor is expected to grow from 53 TWh in 2030 to 260 TWh by mid-century, which will strongly outstrip supply (22.1 TWh and 183 TWh, respectively).
Slovenia and Croatia could also benefit from two other corridors, according to the report. The South Central or Adriatic Corridor aims to meet demand in Italy, Central Europe, and Germany with large-scale production at lower cost in North Africa. Meanwhile, Slovenia and Croatia can be connected to the envisaged Eastern Corridor, which taps into the potential of renewable hydrogen production in Ukraine.
The study identifies a large potential in repurposing pipelines currently carrying fossil gas, which the European Union aims to phase out in the longer term.
The European Commission’s REPowerEU plan to eliminate the demand for fossil fuels from Russia includes a chapter on the necessary acceleration of hydrogen infrastructure development. The goal is to enable the production, import, and transportation of 20 million tons of hydrogen per year by 2030.
The development of these corridors is crucial for the decarbonization of industry, transportation, and electricity systems across Eastern and Southeastern Europe. However, the development of these hydrogen corridors faces several challenges, such as regulatory barriers, high costs, and lack of investment. Despite these challenges, the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance is determined to move forward with the development of these corridors, as they are essential for achieving Europe’s climate goals.