The European Hydrogen Backbone creates an opportunity to accelerate decarbonisation of the energy sector by efficiently integrating substantial volumes of additional renewable and low-carbon energy into the system and by connecting regions with abundant supply potential with centres of demand. Moreover, the EHB has the potential to revitalise Europe’s industrial economy whilst ensuring energy system resilience, increased energy independence, and security of supply across Europe.
Such a vision can be achieved in a cost-effective manner, but it requires close collaboration between EU Member States and neighbouring countries and a stable, supportive, and adaptive regulatory framework.
The proposed infrastructure pathway up to 2040 shows the vision of 28 European network operators, based on national analyses of availability of existing natural gas infrastructure, future natural gas market developments, and future hydrogen market developments under an accelerated and ambitious climate scenario.
Nonetheless, it is important to note that the eventual infrastructure solution will be highly dependent on future supply and demand dynamics of the integrated energy system, including natural gas, hydrogen, electricity, and heat.
The real development of hydrogen supply and demand and the increasing integration of the energy system may lead to alternative or additional routes compared to the ones described in this paper, and the timeline of some of the 2030, 2035, and 2040 proposed routes may be shifted forward or backward in time.
The EHB initiative is looking forward to discussing its vision with stakeholders including policy makers, companies, and initiatives along the hydrogen value chain.