Montel Magazine 4 - 2020 - Page 18

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by 2027 . “ A hydrogen exchange can function as a catalyst during the development phase of the market and can improve economic efficiency once the hydrogen market is mature ,” Dutch minister for economics
“ We certainly see scope for global trade in hydrogen ”
and energy , Eric Wiebes , said recently . Experts see the Netherlands as one of the European hubs for hydrogen trading , next to Germany , the UK , Spain , France and Italy .
Politicians like Wiebes are playing a key role in helping the hydrogen market get off the ground , especially as governments are seeking sustainable ways to stimulate their economies in light of the coronavirus crisis . The EU alone has agreed on a EUR 750bn support package which includes funds dedicated to the energy transition . “ We ’ re pleased to see that there ’ s a lot of that money flowing towards hydrogen because of the profile we can offer in the long term because of green energy ,” says Daryl Wilson , executive director of the Hydrogen Council .
Still , a crucial element lacking in the development of a traded hydrogen market is infrastructure . Current hydrogen pipelines are dedicated to industrial clusters , but European gas network operators from 10 countries have said they can build a 23,000-kilometre-long hydrogen backbone by 2040 . For the largest part this will mean converting existing gas pipelines to carrying hydrogen .
For trade via pipelines to take off , network operators and regulators need to establish clear rules allowing third-party access to pipelines and create a certification system to distinguish the carbon-intensity of differently produced forms of hydrogen . “ Once we move from MWs to GWs of clean hydrogen and local clusters have been linked via ships and pipes , hydrogen as an energy carrier could play a major role similar to natural gas trading now in Europe and globally ,” says Erik Rakhou , clean hydrogen lead at consultancy Baringa Partners .
Some heavyweight energy traders have already thrown their hat into the hydrogen ring . One of them is Germany ’ s RWE which has several projects in the pipeline . “ We anticipate that trade in physical hydrogen and the associated certificates will start on a significant scale ,” an RWE spokeswoman says . The utility plans to build a large electrolyser for the production of hydrogen at its Lingen power plant in Germany and could start to do so as early as next year , while another electrolyser is planned at
Montel Magazine 4 – 2020