At the presentation of the feasibility study for the establishment and expansion of an effective hydrogen transport network in Brandenburg, Brandenburg’s Minister of Economic Affairs Jörg Steinbach stated that the state not only has the potential to expand a green hydrogen infrastructure but that the future of the state’s fundamental industries will also depend on it.
The study team then used this information to generate demand-driven, cost-effective strategies for future hydrogen production and use up to 2045.
The goal is to create a higher-level hydrogen infrastructure in Germany by connecting local hydrogen producers, storage facilities, and end users.
The report, which was produced by a team led by Fraunhofer IEG, will act as a guide for producers, network operators, and consumers as they plan for the future. The foundation of the future hydrogen economy, according to Steinbach, is an effective hydrogen transportation system. Now is the time to build green hydrogen pipes to supply the combined heat and power plants in Berlin and the state of Brandenburg, as well as the steel, glass, cement, and chemical industries.
In addition, Brandenburg would be required as a transit nation for the supply of hydrogen to Berlin as well as to the south of Germany. Existing natural gas pipes would need to be modified, and around 500 kilometers worth of new pipelines would need to be constructed. A hydrogen launch network is planned to be constructed by 2028 with support from the EU. It will run from the port of Rostock through Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and further south via Brandenburg.
The estimate predicts that Brandenburg’s hydrogen demand would rise from slightly less than five terawatt hours in 2030 to 40 terawatt hours in 2045. The creation of climate-friendly hydrogen depends on the continued increase of renewable energy sources. The environmentally friendly hydrogen will be produced by electrolysis in Brandenburg wind and solar parks and supplied from offshore wind farms in the Baltic Sea via the ports of Rostock and Lubmin.
Thorsten Spillmann from Fraunhofer IEG, who oversaw the study, says, “Brandenburg is not only an important transit country that connects the northern hydrogen import and production sites with the southern federal states, but it also has considerable potential for the generation of green electricity and hydrogen as well as its utilization.” Hydrogen can be used to store excess electricity, which can then be turned back into energy or used in other areas.
According to the study, former opencast coal mines have a particularly high potential and might eventually produce more hydrogen than 20 terawatt hours annually. According to Spillmann, a necessary condition for the decarbonization of local basic industries is the availability of hydrogen. A potential regional hydrogen demand of 40 terawatt hours over the long run has been identified, with industry accounting for more than two-thirds of it.
In order to reliably transmit the expected quantities from the hydrogen sources to the customers, we created a hydrogen network for Brandenburg as part of the study, according to Florian Temmler, planning engineer and project manager at INFRACON Infrastruktur Service GmbH & Co. KG. “It is around 1,100 kilometers long overall. About 600 kilometers of these are new lines, while another 500 kilometers are natural gas pipes that have been converted.”
This would guarantee a network structure that is economically sound. The potential savings from combining lines and utilizing existing natural gas infrastructure were estimated to be over 55% as compared to building entirely new routes.