Hamburg draws up strategy to become European hub for green H2 imports

Hydrogen tanks. Source: US Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

March 11 (Renewables Now) - Hamburg's Economy and Innovation Authority (BWI) has mapped out a strategy to make the major port city in northern Germany a European hub for the import of green hydrogen.

The authority has devised an action plan that should pave the way for large-scale imports of green hydrogen. The clean fuel will be needed not only for the decarbonisation of the local industry but also to meet the growing demand in Germany and Europe as local production would not be sufficient to cover the needs.

For this purpose, Hamburg should become an international hub within a European hydrogen network so that imports from all over Europe arrive here and are distributed to Germany and other places across the continent.

The carbon-free fuel will be imported on land per pipeline and by sea. The efforts are focused on the construction of the necessary infrastructure to enable the transportation per pipeline.

The HyPerLink project of gas grid operator Gasunie should connect the city to a European hydrogen network. The project is part of an initiative aimed at creating cross-border hydrogen infrastructure between Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands. In three phases, pipelines are to be built from the Netherlands through Bremen to Hamburg, as well as between Wolfsburg and Bremen in Germany and between the German-Danish border and Hamburg.

Additionally, the Hamburg Hydrogen Industry Network (HH-WIN) planned to be built south of the Elbe River will connect local customers, producers and infrastructure for imports by sea with the national pipeline network.

To enable the large-scale imports by sea, Hamburg will need to build terminals and transform existing facilities. The city is already considering several areas at the port for this purpose including the port development area Steinwerder Sued, existing tank storage facilities, the area of the former Shell tank storage which will be developed into a Sustainable Energy Hub and other areas.

Under the current plan, a central import terminal is unlikely to be built in the future but there will rather be several terminals that would be used for hydrogen imports as the different hydrogen derivatives require import infrastructure with different technical specifics.

The strategy lays the foundation for Hamburg, which is Europe's third-largest seaport in terms of container handling, to become a reliable partner for export countries, according to Hamburg's economy senator Michael Westhagemann.

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