Both Gasgrid Finland and Nordion Energi have identified hydrogen as a key influencing technology affecting the future energy system. The companies have also identified a potential hydrogen demand of around 65 TWh a year and foresee a need to develop a cross-border hydrogen market and transmission infrastructure in and around the Bothnian Bay. Based on this demand scenario, the parties plan to investigate the possibilities to develop the first cross-border integrated transmission scale hydrogen infrastructure.
Gasgrid Finland and Nordion Energi cooperate currently under the umbrella of the European Hydrogen Backbone (EHB), which is an initiative consisting of 31 European gas infrastructure companies working together to plan a pan-European dedicated hydrogen transport infrastructure. Gasgrid Finland and Nordion Energi agree that a natural next step for EHB during 2022 would be a more advanced, regional analysis to assess the hydrogen- and hydrogen infrastructure potential in the Nordic region, starting with a focus on the Swedish and Finnish region.
The total system investment, including the expected funds needed to build new pipelines as well as their associated systems like compression, is expected to be in the range of 3.5 billion Euros / 35 billion SEK. The expected transportation cost for hydrogen will be in the range of 0.1-0.2 €/kg H2 / 1-2 SEK/kg H2. The level of investment will depend on factors like the number of connections and compressors, routing specifics, and more precise supply and demand figures. Gasgrid Finland and Nordion Energi are funding the investigation phase and are developing a strategy for raising development capital.
To transport energy from renewable electricity generation sites to the end user, where hydrogen is the desired end-product, hydrogen pipelines offer:
For many sectors, direct electrification is not feasible as a decarbonisation solution given their reliance on fuels or gases to power processes or provide high-temperature heat. Therefore, renewable, and low-carbon gases like low-carbon hydrogen have an important role to play to reach the EU’s climate goals. Examples include the steel sector, where hydrogen provides an alternative reducing agent in the production process, and the use of hydrogen as a feedstock in the production of e-fuels such as e-methanol, which will replace carbon-intensive fuels currently used in shipping and aviation, but also replacing fossil industrial feedstock, e.g., fossil methanol, in the chemical industry.
The energy sector is going through a significant transformation. There are some challenges that need to be overcome at the system level, but also big opportunities. There is significant business potential in the hydrogen economy and the development of value chains. The emergence of a new hydrogen industry can create opportunities for growth, jobs, and regional well-being. These will be studied in more detail in potential future phases of the partnership.
For such large scale, cross-border infrastructure projects to succeed, clear regulatory standards and funding schemes at both a national and European level are required. The Nordic Hydrogen Route will work together with the respective political bodies to help shape these regulations, to leverage the knowledge and experience of all involved stakeholders.