New hydrogen pipeline ‘could make Scotland front-runner’

Scotland’s hydrogen production could be accelerated with a purpose-built marine pipeline, according to a report published today (31 August 2023) by the Net Zero Technology Centre (NZTC).

The NZTC’s Hydrogen Backbone Link project claims critical hydrogen transport infrastructure through a “cost-effective pipeline solution” would position Scotland as a front runner for exporting.

The project, which received funding from the Scottish Government’s Energy Transition Fund (ETF) and match funding from industry, examined the re-purposing of existing oil and gas infrastructure, before determining a new purpose-built marine pipeline link to Europe is the optimal route to market for Scotland’s green hydrogen.

The new pipeline could enable Scotland to meet up to 10% of Europe’s projected hydrogen import demand by the mid 2030s, it claimed. Through ongoing investment in additional infrastructure, it could maintain this proportion of export beyond 2045, helping Scottish Government meet its green export ambition and facilitating continental Europe’s industrial decarbonisation, it said.

The NZTC also said delivering the Hydrogen Backbone Link could result in more than 700 Scottish jobs and act as an enabler for new and existing green hydrogen projects, supporting up to a further 300,000 jobs in the green economy.

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.”

Download a copy of the report here.

Image courtesy of NZTC

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