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Bolstering a Pipeline-based Hydrogen Future for Europe

[IMPACT  LIVE] Bolstering a Pipeline-based Hydrogen Future for Europe

“The changes from centralized production of energy to more decentralized production, which has implementation on the infrastructure side. The European Hydrogen Backbone and its TSOs have gathered together to envisage to pan-European hydrogen pipeline, and these envisions are now concretely turning into projects.”

- Sara Kärki, Chairwoman, European Hydrogen Backbone

The success of a climate-neutral Europe by 2050 and that of renewable hydrogen will depend on a mature inter-regional hydrogen infrastructure in place. However, Hydrogen pipeline infrastructure is currently limited in Europe, with most of the hydrogen transported by trucks or in the form of compressed gas. According to the European Hydrogen Backbone (EHB) project, which aims to create a blueprint for a dedicated hydrogen pipeline network across Europe, the total length of the planned hydrogen pipeline network in Europe could reach 23,000 km by 2040.


In this context, the [Impact Webinar] was held on February 21st with aims to explore that future form of a high-performing EU hydrogen network by examining the current one and possible evolvement coupled with hydrogen corridors and various types of trading partnerships.

Key Takeaways:

1. The creation of pan-European hydrogen economy requires efficiency, security and speed of transition of hydrogen infrastructure:

Hydrogen is needed along electrification if we want to be carbon neutral or -negative, as gases are more capital efficient than electricity in large volumes and distances. Markets based on joint infrastructures create efficiency, security and speed of transition. However, the greatest challenge for hydrogen market creation is “the chicken and egg”-problem which leads to an “wait-and-see” approach. As for Infrastructure providers / TSOs, DSOs, they needs for clarity on regulation, funding, and flexibility to overcome funding gap during market development.

2. Existing gas infrastructures are critical for achieving EU H2 targets:

Following REpowerEU targets and aligned with the current legislation in most of European countries, which requires that the TSOs and DSOs ensure the adequacy of pipelines to accommodate H2 - namely, in a first phase, through blending of H2 with natural gas. Blending does not require additional infrastructure costs for H2 transport and storage, and it enables power-gas sector coupling by absorbing overgeneration from the grid and injecting H2 into the gas network, which greatly contributes to the development of hydrogen market before pure H2 backbone availability.

3. Major pipeline interconnections that supports the establishment of H2MED:

Aiming to develop the first major H2 green corridor of RepowerEU (denominated H2MED), REN, Enagas, Terega and GRTgas, prepared and submitted to Project of Common Interest (PCI) of European Commission the following projects:

  • New H2 interconnection between Portugal and Spain, named Celorico da Beira - Zamora (Celza)

  1. Monforte - Celorico da Beira (Repurpose of existing ≈ 210 km gas pipeline)

  2. Figueira da Foz - Celorico da Beira (Repurpose of existing ≈ 120 km gas pipeline + 55 of new H2 pipeline)

These projects, complemented by an interconnection between France and Spain (Barmar) and other enablers associated, will implement the H2Med by 2030 which is critical to reducing dependence on Russia and leveraging an efficient and competitive H2 market in Europe.​

4. The Nordic Hydrogen Route is a critical step toward achieving the goal of the European Hydrogen Backbone:

With 48 GW wind capacity and 65 TWh hydrogen demand, the Nordic Hydrogen Route (NHR) project, which will be supported by 3,5 bn. EUR hydrogen Infrastructure, accelerates the creation of a hydrogen economy by building a cross-border hydrogen infrastructure and an open hydrogen market in the Bothnian Bay region by 2030. The goal of NHR is to drive decarbonization, and support regional green industrialization, economic development, and European energy independence.

5. 60% of Italy’s H2 backbone could be repurposed for North Africa - Europe Linkage:

The Italian H2 backbone is recognized as the Corridor A of European Hydrogen Backbone, which unlocks abundant and cost-effective green H2 supply from North Africa. Significantly, 60% (2300km) of the whole corridor can be repurposed as Infrastructure is already largely in place. Once fully established, 200 GWh/d (2,0 Mtpa) overall capacity is expected to be exported to Austria and Switzerland.

6. Gas workers need to be upskilled and re-skilled across Europe for decarbonisation:

New momentum is needed to ensure a just transition for gas workers to be upskilled and re-skilled across Europe. To achieve this, a good quality of social dialogue, planning and investment are needed by employees in the fields of electricity, petroleum and chemicals, at European, national and company levels.

Insights Brought to You by:

Luis Janeiro

Hydrogen Lead


  • Olli Sipilä

Olli Sipilä



Gasgrid Finland

Stephan Krein

Corporate Development and Hydrogen Program Director


  • Giulia Branzi

Giulia Branzi

Head of Climate Policies

Snam S.p.A. 

Ermal Ndini

Energy Policy & Comms

Open Grid Europe (OGE) 

  • Sara Kärki

Sara Kärki


European Hydrogen Backbone

Senior Vice President, Hydrogen Development

Gasgrid Finland

  • LinkedIn

Bronagh O'Hagan

External Relations Director


Pedro Carola

Head of Renewable Gas Planning


Xavier Rousseau

Senior Vice President Strategy

Snam S.p.A. 

  • Tobias Bühnen

Tobias Bühnen

Policy Advisor

Gas Infrastructure Europe


Holnam Sha

Senior Content Analyst

Leader Associates

  • LinkedIn
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