Gas Connect Austria, a transmission line operator, has submitted two forward-looking projects to the European Commission in order to obtain Project of Common Interest (PCI) status.
The projects, titled “H2 Backbone WAG + Penta-West” and “H2 Backbone Murfeld,” aim to supplement the West Austria Gas Pipeline (WAG) and the Penta-West (PW) pipeline with continuous parallel lines for transporting hydrogen.
The “H2 Backbone WAG + Penta-West” project will create cross-border, bidirectional hydrogen transport options between Slovakia and Austria and between Austria and Germany, to the extent of 150 GWh/day. It is also part of the Southern Hydrogen Corridor (SoutH2 Corridor) connecting North Africa, Italy, Austria, and Germany. Inexpensive green hydrogen produced in the south can thus be delivered to European demand centers.
The “H2 Backbone Murfeld” project will create cross-border bidirectional hydrogen transport options between Slovenia and Austria of 33 GWh/day. The LNG terminal in Krk (Croatia) and North Africa via Italy could serve as sources here.
The hydrogen demand in domestic and European industry is constantly increasing, and Gas Connect Austria’s projects could make a significant contribution to covering this growing demand and driving the decarbonization of the economy. According to a survey by Austrian Gas Grid Management, companies in Austria estimate their hydrogen requirements to be 12 terawatt hours (TWh) by 2030 and 47 TWh by 2040. Industrial clusters in Austria, such as the Styrian industrial areas, the greater Vienna area, and the greater Linz area, but also surrounding regions – such as the ChemDelta Bavaria and the H2 cluster Ingolstadt in Bavaria – could benefit from the newly created hydrogen infrastructure.
Both projects are part of the Europe-wide initiative REPowerEU, which aims to enable the European import of hydrogen via three major corridors. This is intended to supply the European Union with large quantities of CO2-neutral hydrogen in the future. As a result, the projects will be implemented in close coordination with other European initiatives to expand the hydrogen infrastructure, including the “H2EU+Store” project – which aims to ramp up the market for green hydrogen for Central Europe – and the “SoutH2Corridor” for hydrogen transport from North Africa via Italy.
Gas Connect Austria’s projects will help achieve Austrian and European climate and hydrogen targets. Hydrogen is a gaseous raw material that makes it possible to supply numerous branches of industry with CO2-neutral energy. It is also easy to transport and store and can be produced in a climate-neutral manner using certain processes. As the world moves towards sustainable energy sources, Gas Connect Austria’s forward-looking pipeline projects could play a decisive role in the energy future and sustainable security of supply.