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Hydrogen pipeline from Scotland to Europe explored in new report

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Scotland could meet up to 10% of Europe’s projected hydrogen import demand by the mid-2030s, according to a report recently published by the Net Zero Technology Centre (NZTC).

Phase one of NZTC’s Hydrogen Backbone Link project explored the infrastructure required to deliver a cost-effective pipeline which would position Scotland as a front runner in hydrogen export. It examined the repurposing of existing oil and gas infrastructure and concluded that a new purpose-built marine pipeline link to Europe would be the optimal route to market for Scotland’s green hydrogen. Phase two is set to examine the steps required to progress to construction.

According to the report, the pipeline would enable new and existing green hydrogen projects, support up to a further 300,000 jobs in the green economy, and assist the decarbonisation ambitions of both Scotland and Europe. The report also contains the following recommendations on activities required to achieve these goals:

  • Rapid acceleration of public and private investment to deliver the backbone pipeline
  • Continued investment in hydrogen and wind deployments to deliver security of supply
  • Development of a National Energy Storage Strategy
  • Cross-border policy and standards alignment

Callum Milne, Hydrogen Backbone Link Project Manager at the Net Zero Technology Centre said:

Scotland is poised to utilise its abundant natural resources, skilled workforce and proximity to an energy hungry market in north-west Europe but to maximise this, will take accelerated and increased government and industry investment, rapid development of infrastructure and cross border collaboration over the next decade.

“The Hydrogen Backbone Link (HBL) project is a key early enabler for this, providing cost-effective transportation to market for Scottish hydrogen producers and supporting the transition to a low-carbon energy system.”

Scottish Government Energy Secretary, Neil Gray, said:

“The Scottish Government recognises the importance of developing hydrogen pipelines to unlock Scotland’s export potential. We want to work collaboratively with partners across Europe to advance infrastructure which ensures security of supply in Europe and positions the North Sea as a centre for low-cost hydrogen production.

“The Scottish Government supports the Hydrogen Backbone Link project because it gives valuable insight into the viability of repurposing or developing new pipelines. This can help us understand any barriers where government support is required to unlock investment and realise Scotland’s export potential.”

The project has received support from funding partners including Shetland Island Council, EnQuest, Kellas Midstream, Crown Estate Scotland and Shell, as well as contributing members Xodus, DNV-GL, Wood Mackenzie and Worley, and strategic partners National Grid and SGN.

A copy of the report can be downloaded from NZTC’s website.

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