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Scotland | European Hydrogen Backbone

Charley Rattan's picture
World Hydrogen Leader , Charley Rattan Associates

UK based offshore wind & hydrogen corporate advisor and trainer; Faculty member World Hydrogen Leaders. Delivering global hydrogen and offshore wind corporate investment advice, business...

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  • Feb 20, 2023

European Hydrogen Backbone

European Hydrogen Backbone, 2023

I already shared a number of articles with the community around the European Hydrogen Backbone which is gaining traction amongst corporate investors. Project-union-offshore-energy-islands

Reading the country updates, it was interesting to see Moffat mentioned in the narrative and likely with the Irish dimension in mind.

Great Britain (National Gas Transmission)


National Gas Transmission owns and operates the National Transmission System in Great Britain, a network consisting of approximately 7,630km of pipelines. The UK government has targeted at least 10GW hydrogen production capacity and 40 GW offshore wind by 2030, with four low carbon industrial clusters established. A dedicated hydrogen transmission system is expected to emerge in Great Britain (the island consisting of England, Scotland and Wales) initially through the phased repurposing of existing natural gas transmission pipelines to join GB’s largest industrial clusters (Grangemouth, Teesside, Humberside, Merseyside and South Wales). This will provide resilience to the clusters and could support the conversion of some industries outside of these clusters.

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Project Union


The initial development of the emerging hydrogen backbone in GB aims to utilise and repurpose pipelines to transport hydrogen, whilst still maintaining the security of supply on the existing natural gas transmission system. Further conversion of remaining pipelines will likely develop at a later stage and may require small sections of new pipelines to enable the transition.


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Hydrogen infrastructure development

By 2030, up to four of the five industrial clusters could be connected and will form the basis of a GB hydrogen transmission backbone. Due to the sensitivities around industrial cluster developments, National Gas Transmission does not hold any views on the phased sequencing of which industrial clusters are likely to connect first as it relates to this study. Additionally, there may be connections to St Fergus in north Scotland and Bacton on the east coast, providing additional hydrogen supplies which could help integrate the large amounts of renewable energy from offshore wind.

By 2035, it is possible that all clusters could be connected. A converted pipeline to Bacton, located on the east coast, could enable future hydrogen flows across the interconnectors between GB and Belgium and GB and the Netherlands once ready. Further repurposed pipelines may start to emerge between 2035 and 2040, including a connection to Moffat, enabling hydrogen to flow across the interconnector between GB and Ireland alongside natural gas flows.


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As hydrogen production scales, further expansion of this hydrogen network will occur throughout the 2040s enabling a greater reach across industrial, power, transport and domestic heating sectors.

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The maps represent the selection of pipelines that could have started the hydrogen repurposing process but may not have completed full conversion by the date on the map. Sequencing and formally defined routes have not been determined, therefore some of these pipelines could be converted in the following 5 to 10-year period.



Hydrogen Networks





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