Climate Impact of a Future Long-Distance Hydrogen Transport in Germany

  • Project no.153171
  • Duration 07/2023 - 02/2024

As an energy carrier of the future, hydrogen (H2) is expected to play a significant role in the transformation of the energy system. In the public discussion, green hydrogen from renewable energies is regarded as climate-friendly because its combustion does not cause any CO2 emissions.
However, it has been known for a long time that the hydrogen concentration in the atmosphere increases due to leakages during its production, storage and transport. This results in an indirect effect on the climate due to various atmospheric implications. Therefore, the development of an H2 infrastructure must go hand in hand with good supply chain management in order to prevent unwanted leakage of the green hydrogen produced into the atmosphere. This will allow to maximise the proven climate benefits of the energy transition from natural gas and other fossil fuels to H2.

The H2Klim project therefore focussed on assessing the significance of the climate impact of H2 in the context of the future conversion of the German natural gas transmission network to H2 transport. To this end, the researchers first outlined the status quo and transformation plans for the German transmission grid and reviewed the current state of research on the climate impact of H2. Based on this, they estimated the net climate effects of transmission system operation due to the energy carrier switch from natural gas to hydrogen.

The project results provide a scientifically sound basis for classifying current discussions about the climate impact of H2 and offer orientation knowledge with regard to the implementation of a climate-friendly gas grid transformation.

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