Thyssengas sets course for hydrogen start-up network

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Dortmund-based transmission system operator Thyssengas is proactively preparing for the transport of hydrogen and other green gases.

As part of this, the company is creating 25 additional jobs in a first step to drive the development of a “Thyssengas H2 start-up network” from the existing natural gas network. In this way, Thyssengas is underlining its own claim to be a pioneer and shaper of the energy transition.

800-kilometer hydrogen grid planned

The “Thyssengas H2 start-up network” with a length of around 800 pipeline kilometers is to form the starting point for the successive transition to hydrogen transport. It comprises the pipeline sections in the Thyssengas network that are to be made H2-ready in a first step and then gradually converted to hydrogen.

“With this investment in personnel and know-how, we are making an advance payment as a transmission system operator. So far, we have no legal mandate to build a hydrogen network, although demand and potential exist. However, I am convinced that without our initiative, a rapid hydrogen ramp-up will not succeed,” explains Dr. Thomas Gößmann, Chairman of the Management Board of Thyssengas GmbH. He sees the development of an H2 network based on existing natural gas pipelines as a necessary lever and important signal to producers, importers and consumers in the Thyssengas network area. “All market participants need predictability as to when an efficient hydrogen network will be available to meet their respective needs. We are now giving the go-ahead for this for our network,” Gößmann continued.

The hydrogen network planning is based on around 45 memoranda of understanding (MoUs) that Thyssengas concluded with potential hydrogen producers and customers as part of a market survey conducted by FNB Gas e.V.. These future customers are to be reliably supplied with hydrogen via the 800 identified pipeline kilometers from 2030 at the latest. The majority of these pipelines will be successively converted for H2 transport, or parts of them will be newly built. By 2045, more and more pipeline kilometers will be added and the hydrogen network in the Thyssengas network will be expanded in parallel with the growing market. This makes the Thyssengas pipelines an essential part of the Germany-wide hydrogen network for the year 2032, which was published as a hydrogen variant by the transmission system operators on July 6, 2022, as part of the interim status of the Gas Network Development Plan 2022-2032.

“We as Thyssengas are now taking this step to show: We are serious and are making bold business decisions. We are doing this because hydrogen is the key element for the challenges of energy supply. We and many other players along the H2 value chain are waiting in the wings. Our appeal to policymakers is: let this initial spark by companies be followed by pragmatic regulation. As soon as there is planning and investment certainty, the market for hydrogen will pick up speed. We now have the chance to unleash this potential,” explains Dr. Thomas Gößmann.

Additional personnel for new tasks

The gradual conversion of pipelines to hydrogen involves numerous planning and technical measures. Against this background, Thyssengas is creating 25 new jobs with immediate effect, mainly in the technical areas of the company. The main focus is on engineers who will support the conversion of existing pipelines and supplementary pipeline construction projects for the hydrogen network. However, the company is also looking for reinforcements in the areas of sales, human resources, finance and communications. The positions are aimed at both career starters and experienced professionals.

“We now need to bring in additional employees as future shapers if we want to drive the H2 ramp-up at speed. This will enable us to further expand our know-how and prepare for new tasks in the future” explains Jörg Kamphaus, Commercial Director and responsible for Human Resources. “What we have to offer is a professional challenge that could hardly be more meaningful: helping to shape the transformation of the energy industry into a climate-neutral future together with a committed team,” Kamphaus continues. A recruiting campaign is to accompany the personnel build-up in the coming months and ensure the necessary attention.

Hydrogen as the energy carrier of the future

Thyssengas operates a pipeline network of around 4,400 kilometers, which is still used mainly to transport natural gas. But it is not only with a view to the decarbonization of the energy industry that natural gas has no future as a fossil fuel in the foreseeable future. In view of the dependence on Russian natural gas supplies, the bridge technology of natural gas is to be significantly shortened – in addition to the nuclear energy and coal phase-out that has already been decided. Hydrogen, a gaseous energy carrier, can make a significant contribution to security of supply in Germany and accelerate the energy transition toward climate neutrality. For this to happen, however, hydrogen and other green gases must be available in significant quantities as soon as possible.

Thyssengas has already been involved in the pioneering hydrogen project ELEMENT EINS since 2018, as well as in the forward-looking H2 initiatives GET H2, GET H2 Nukleus IPCEI, H2morrow steel, IN2Climate and EcoPort 813 – H2UB DeltaPort. With the first Thyssengas Dialog in early May 2022, the company has also initiated its own platform for networking and exchange along the H2 value chain.

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