According to the Stuttgarter Nachrichten, the regional transmission system operator Terranets bw in Baden-Württemberg, which is a subsidiary of the Baden-Württemberg energy group EnBW, is planning a new pipeline that will begin carrying hydrogen in the region of Stuttgart in the year 2030. The pipeline will stretch from Mannheim to the area around Stuttgart. This action is being taken as part of terranets bw’s plans to launch and continuously grow a hydrogen network.
According to the article, even though it is still unclear where the environmentally friendly hydrogen will come from or who the exact customers will be, work has already begun in setting up the transportation network. Transmission operators have been planning for the adoption of hydrogen with the goal of adding up to 2,900 kilometers of new lines across the country and converting parts of existing gas networks for hydrogen, which could comprise up to 5,900 kilometers – an endeavor that could cost up to 10 billion euros if it were to be fully realized.
More than 2,700 kilometers of pipelines are maintained and operated by Terranets bw throughout the state of Baden-Württemberg as well as the neighboring state of Hesse. Because the gas pipelines need to be retrofitted to withstand the more aggressive hydrogen, which can deteriorate rubber seals and affect other vital components, the gas pipeline conversions will take about five years to complete.
Researchers have cautioned against rushing into the use of hydrogen because it takes a significant amount of energy derived from renewable sources to produce hydrogen that is friendly to the environment, and it will be a long time before sufficient amounts are available. Despite this, Terranets bw anticipates that the current annual consumption of 2,000 megawatt hours will more than double by the year 2030 and more than triple by the year 2050.
Green hydrogen is widely recognized as an essential component of the energy transition, in particular for industries that produce a significant amount of carbon dioxide (such as the manufacturing and transportation industries).