The hydrogen backbone will be realized by converting the existing natural gas infrastructure to hydrogen and – only where necessary - building new sections. The planning, construction and commissioning will have a phased approach from 2025 to approx. 2030:
- Phase I: The central element of Gasunie’s planned hydrogen network consists of the pipeline section from the Nüttermoor storage facility to Elbe-Süd and Eckel, along the Lesum storage facility and the Bremen and Hamburg / Stade regions. This section connects hydrogen consumers and producers as early as 2025. The hydrogen infrastructure is realized exclusively by converting existing natural gas pipelines to hydrogen, there is no need to construct new pipelines.
- Phase II: The line section between the border crossing point Oude Statenzijl and Folmhusen can connect the area that was converted in 2025 with the Dutch hydrogen system in 2028. Here, too, the hydrogen infrastructure is being built exclusively by converting existing natural gas pipelines. In addition, a further expansion from Achim to Wolfsburg can be established through both conversion of existing pipelines and new construction of new pipelines especially for hydrogen. We are currently assessing if the development of phase II can be accelerated.
- Phase III: In the third phase, the section from Elbe Süd to Ellund at the border with Denmark is established. The development and timing of the previous phases was closely linked to pipelines becoming available after conversion of areas from L-gas quality to H-gas quality. This third phase can however be developed independently from this L/H-gas conversion as it is realized by converting available pipelines in the H-gas system to hydrogen.
Phases I and II have qualified for the EU matchmaking process as part of the IPCEI process.