Partners apply for ‘Project of Common Interest’ status for AquaDuctus green hydrogen pipeline
Transmission system operators (TSOs) GASCADE and Fluxys have submitted an application with the European Commission for the AquaDuctus project, a North Sea offshore pipeline for green hydrogen produced using electricity from offshore wind farms, to be declared Project of Common Interest (PCI).
AquaDuctus is part of the AquaVentus initiative in Germany which plans to install 10 GW of electrolysis capacity for green hydrogen production from offshore wind power between Heligoland and the Dogger Bank sandbank in the North Sea, and comprises several sub-projects along the value chain, from the production of hydrogen in the North Sea to transport to consumers on the mainland.
As reported in 2021, when Shell, RWE, GASCADE, and Gasunie announced they were ramping up work on developing AquaDuctus, the project has also participated in the IPCEI (Important Project of Common European Interest) expression of interest procedure of the German Federal Ministry of Economics.
The first step after intensifying their collaboration was a detailed feasibility study, the project partners said in 2021. That study has since been completed.
The offshore pipeline, for which GASCADE Managing Director Christoph von dem Bussche says will become a linchpin of Germany’s and Europe’s future offshore hydrogen infrastructure, will be 400 kilometres long and is designed to collect hydrogen from multiple production sites and to include potential link-up with other international hydrogen flows through the North Sea.
The first development will see the SEN-1 hydrogen offshore wind farm connected to AquaDuctus, with first production expected in 2030, the two TSOs said.
After 2030, new offshore wind farms in Germany’s exclusive economic zone could be connected to the pipeline, as well as hydrogen infrastructure operated by other North Sea countries, according to the two TSOs. By 2035, AquaDuctus is planned to be developed into a main hydrogen corridor carrying up to one million tonnes of hydrogen per year into Germany.
Based on the gas and hydrogen package currently being negotiated at the European level, GASCADE and Fluxys plan the AquaDuctus offshore pipeline as a regulated open-access infrastructure available to all future operators of hydrogen-producing wind farms, which will strengthen security of supply in the future, the companies said in a press release on 23 January.
“We firmly believe that the AquaDuctus offshore pipeline will be a key element of Europe’s future energy supply picture and a major advance in the drive towards climate neutrality”, said Fluxys Managing Director and CEO Pascal De Buck.
“Our specific plans for AquaDuctus will allow Germany’s federal government to put in place concrete actions following up the efforts it has made on hydrogen with European partners such as for example Norway or within the framework of the Esbjerg Declaration”, said GASCADE Managing Director Christoph von dem Bussche.
Looking at the wider AquaVentus initiative, besides AquaDuctus, it also includes the development of offshore wind farms with integrated hydrogen generation (AquaPrimus), a large-scale offshore hydrogen park (AquaSector), port infrastructures (AquaPortus), a research platform (AquaCampus), and hydrogen-based maritime applications (AquaNavis).