The construction of Europe’s first national hydrogen pipeline network is set to commence this month. The Dutch project, managed by state-owned gas transmission operator Gasunie, will initially connect the Port of Rotterdam to the city’s industrial hub. 

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Source: shutterstock

Europe is taking a significant step towards establishing its first national Hydrogen pipeline network, as construction of the first 30km stretch of the Dutch national hydrogen network commences on October 27, 2023. The initiative represents a significant development for the region’s hydrogen infrastructure, with operations expected to commence in 2025.

While Europe currently boasts approximately 1,600km of hydrogen pipelines across the continent, with Belgium alone operating 570km of pipelines, the Dutch project is unique in its designation as a national hydrogen network. This network will be managed by the state-owned gas transmission system operator, Gasunie.

The newly constructed pipelines will connect the Port of Rotterdam’s Maasvlakte 2 development to the Pernis area of Rotterdam, a region home to several petrochemical refineries, including the Shell Energy and Chemicals Park. These refineries are anticipated to receive renewable hydrogen volumes from Shell’s 200MW Holland Hydrogen I project located in Maasvlakte 2, scheduled to begin operations in 2025.

Beyond facilitating the transport of hydrogen within the city, Gasunie has ambitious plans to extend the hydrogen network to other clusters within the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium, starting from 2030 onwards. However, specific details regarding the timeline for final investment decisions on the expanded network have not been disclosed.

Both Germany and Belgium have also embarked on plans to develop their own national hydrogen networks, with commitments to establish an H2 pipeline connection between the two countries by 2028. While Belgium has secured €250 million in public funding for its pipeline construction, Germany is still determining the financing structure for its proposed 11,200km network.

The initial Rotterdam stretch will consist of newly constructed pipelines, although Gasunie plans to repurpose existing gas pipelines for approximately 85% of the full hydrogen network. Gasunie is also involved in the development of the open-access ACE Terminal at Maasvlakte 2, designed to facilitate the import of green ammonia starting in early 2026, further bolstering the region’s efforts to advance sustainable energy solutions.