The Nordic Hydrogen Route is an initiative between Gasgrid Finland and Nordion Energi. To drive decarbonization, support regional green industrialization, economic development, and European energy independence, a cross-border hydrogen infrastructure will be built up in Bothnian Bay Region.
There is no major gas network infrastructure in Bothnian Bay, on either the Finnish or Swedish side, so the Nordic Hydrogen Route will be newly built. The first sections of the pipeline network are expected to be operational by 2030. A total of 1,000 km of dedicated hydrogen pipelines will serve 65 TWh of identified potential hydrogen demand in the Bothnian Bay region by 2050.
The pipeline is an important early building block towards a clean, resilient and integrated European energy system. The Nordic Hydrogen Route is at the forefront of answering EU’s decarbonisation and energy integration goals, with a regional estimated hydrogen demand of 1 Mt around 2030. In a wider context, Nordic Hydrogen Route realizes a part of the European Hydrogen Backbone vision. In the long-term vision, Nordic Hydrogen Route links to a wider European hydrogen infrastructure, enabling exports of excess hydrogen production by 2040 to Central Europe.
Low-carbon hydrogen will be a critical enabler of the transition for hard-to-decarbonise sectors of the economy like steel and metals production. 40 TWh of low-carbon hydrogen demand is expected annually by 2050 for existing businesses in Bothnian Bay to reach climate neutrality, with new steel value chains being an important demand driver. Nordic Hydrogen Route will facilitate the development of an open access hydrogen market across the region, encouraging businesses to build new operations, such as recent initiatives in the fertilizer and steel industries. E-fuels is another major new industry that will drive the hydrogen demand in Bothnian Bay.
The regional hydrogen economy is expected to create up to 25,000 jobs by 2030, and up to 46,000 by 2040. The pipeline enables existing industries to decarbonise early, maintaining their competitiveness and creating new opportunities. New business stimulated by the hydrogen economy could bring about up to 25,000 new jobs by 2030, and 46,000 by 2040. Many of these jobs will be technical and highly skilled.
The Nordic Hydrogen Route in regional industry represent around 20% of the combined emissions of Finland and Sweden in 2020. The pipeline has therefore great potential in helping the countries reach their respective climate neutrality targets of 2035 and 2045. The estimate is based on public information about ongoing and proposed regional industrial hydrogen projects, and fossil fuel replacement by e-fuels. The pipeline can facilitate emissions savings of up to 20 Mt CO2e per year by 2050 by enabling industries to embed renewable hydrogen into their processes, and by replacing fossil fuels with e-fuels. This represents around 20% of current yearly emissions in Finland and Sweden.
Built onshore and offshore wind capacity in the resource-rich region could reach 28 GW by 2030, and 48 GW by 2040, exceeding the growth of regional electricity demand. By providing a reliable and cost-efficient platform for energy transfer, Nordic Hydrogen Route decreases business risks and increases the ability of industries to fully utilize this abundant energy potential. As a pipeline that offers not only energy transfer but also buffering energy storage, Nordic Hydrogen Route allows sector integration on a large scale, reducing costs through cross-industrial flexibility. At the same time, increased sector integration has benefits for energy system resilience, infrastructure co-optimization, and energy security.
The pipelines will transport hydrogen produced from abundant wind resources – utilising excess or dedicated generation from up to 48 GW of wind capacity in the Bothnian Bay region by 2040. The Nordic Hydrogen Route investment is estimated at 3.5B EUR / 36B SEK, offering a hydrogen transportation cost of 0.1-0.2 €/kg. The pipeline would enable ten-fold investments around 37B EUR / 380B SEK in wind power and electrolysis, in addition to other investments along the hydrogen value chains. The pipeline network could transfer energy to hydrogen demand sites 2-4 times cheaper than electric powerlines, building the hydrogen economy cost-efficiently.