German economy ministry has issued a warning about a potentially higher future demand for hydrogen storage capacity than initially anticipated. The revelation, outlined in the ‘Green Paper Hydrogen Storage,’ points to a potential underestimation of demand, attributed to uncertainties regarding supply bottlenecks and an optimization logic based on economic criteria used in earlier estimates.
The report highlights unforeseen factors contributing to increased demand, such as prolonged periods of “cold and dark doldrums” in winter or supply disruptions leading to heightened hydrogen requirements. The ministry emphasizes the importance of incorporating these factors into the planning of storage facilities to ensure resilience in the face of unexpected surges in demand.
Germany has ambitious plans to incorporate green hydrogen into power plants to address energy needs during periods of low wind or sunshine, or when renewables alone cannot meet peak demand. The INES, representing gas storage operators, envisions the conversion of existing storage facilities from natural gas to hydrogen within five to seven years, potentially storing up to 32 terawatt hours (TWh). However, the economy ministry projects an even higher demand, estimating it to be around 40 TWh by 2035, surpassing previous government scenarios that suggested a demand of 15 TWh by the same year.
Federal Economics Minister Habeck is set to unveil plans for essential elements of the future German hydrogen infrastructure. The proposed “core network” aims to establish a foundation for connecting vital locations, including industrial centers, storage facilities, power plants, and import lines. Initial projects slated for operation by 2032 are expected to form the backbone of Germany’s hydrogen strategy.