THP-E67: Centralized Hydrogen Hubs Are The Answer To The Infrastructure Question In The US. The European Backbone Plan’s Ambitious Hydrogen Highway And A New Hydrogen Storage Solution Is Being Tested

November 25, 2021 • Paul Rodden • Season: 2021 • Episode: 67

Welcome to The Hydrogen Podcast!

In episode 067, Europe’s gas firm’s prime pipelines for hydrogen highways. Hyzon is teaming up with another energy developer for hub development. And a new method of storing hydrogen is in development. All of this on today’s hydrogen podcast.

Thank you for listening and I hope you enjoy the podcast. Please feel free to email me at with any questions. Also, if you wouldn’t mind subscribing to my podcast using your preferred platform… I would greatly appreciate it.

Paul Rodden




Send us an email to:


Start Here: The 6 Main Colors of Hydrogen

Listen Now:

>Direct Link To The Hydrogen Podcast MP3<


Europe’s gas firm’s prime pipelines for hydrogen highways. Hyzon is teaming up with another energy developer for hub development. And a new method of storing hydrogen is in development. All of this on today’s hydrogen podcast.

So the big questions in the energy industry today are, how is hydrogen the primary driving force behind the evolution of energy? Where is capital being deployed for hydrogen projects globally? And where are the best investment opportunities for early adopters who recognize the importance of hydrogen? I will address the critical issues and give you the information you need to deploy capital. Those are the questions will unlock the potential of hydrogen, and this podcast will give you the answers. My name is Paul Rodden, and welcome to the hydrogen podcast.

In an article from, Vera Eckert, Stephen Jewkes and Isla Binnie write Europe’s gas firms prime pipelines for Hydrogen Highway. as world leaders hammered out a deal last week to slow climate change. Gas engineer Michele Ricciardi was digging into a practical problem. How 1000s of miles of pipeline across Italy and Europe can safely carry hydrogen. The Italian is at the forefront of gas carriers efforts to prepare for a low carbon future. If hydrocarbons are phased out in the coming decades, natural gas companies believe that it should not mean the infrastructure that carries them must go to. They want to repurpose pipelines to carry zero emissions hydrogen after countries wean themselves off natural gas. The effort by nearly two dozen companies reflects the accelerating pace of planning taking place in the global oil and gas industry from drillers to refiners keen to adapt as governments and activists ramp up pressure to slash greenhouse gases. Besides practical preparation, the transition puts firms into competition with other energy sources for funding.

Even as they invest billions of euros in markets, they can’t predict. The hydrogen project involving Italy’s Snam SpA, Spain’s Enagas S.A. and Germany’s Open Grid Europe (OGE) among others – would rely on vast solar farms as far flung as the Sahara desert to create the energy needed to produce hydrogen from water. That fuel would then be piped to Europe’s industrial heartland along the existing web of natural gas pipelines, a 123,300 mile network that if untangled could encircle the equator four times. According to Marco Alvera, CEO of SNAM. Once we have the sun of the Sahara in German factories, that’s like the Roman roads we are still walking on today. It’s forever. The companies want to form a European hydrogen backbone to prevent the pipelines from rusting up into what the industry calls stranded assets. They calculate that some 69% of existing pipelines can be converted for up to 81 billion euros or $94 billion. And that project is one of hundreds of plans to build a hydrogen economy, which the European Union says could involve investments of up to 460 billion Euros by 2030.

A hydrogen supply network could add to Europe’s energy security. The block currently relies on natural gas to be 28% of its energy needs. With a third of the gas from Russia. Politicians have recently accused Moscow of holding back supplies as gas prices climbed to record levels. Russia says it’s filled all of its contractual requirements. In a quote from Frans Timmermans, European Commissioner for climate action, I think it’s a brilliant idea. adapting existing natural gas networks to transport hydrogen is about 25% of the cost of building new infrastructure for renewable energy. But the European Union is not providing cash for the venture that must come from industry or national governments, so it will need political and industrial support.

To succeed. The gas grids need to be able to direct hydrogen blended with natural gas to the consumers who can use it, like steel makers, chemical companies and refineries. The supply needs to be safe, and volumes big enough for it to be affordable. Eventually, if green hydrogen can be provided in huge quantities, the auto industry and home heating suppliers may also start to use it. But that wouldn’t be before 2030. This according to some studies. The gas grid companies say their main challenge now is the fact that Europe has no regulatory framework for them to adapt the network. According to Maria Sicilia strategy director at Enagas, the regulation needs to define hydrogen as a gas that can be transported and used similarly to natural gas. If the regulations set standards, she said the network’s can be interlinked. The hydrogen backbone is now in competition for state money.

Germany is Europe’s biggest energy consumer Berlin has pledged 9 billion euros up to 2030 to develop a green hydrogen industry. 2 billion of it earmarked to boost imports from partner countries such as Morocco, Chile, Saudi Arabia and Australia. But electricity is another fast growing source of relatively clean power. And Germany’s electricity transmission network is also in growing demand. Germany plans to spend 1 billion Euros by 2025 on electric vehicle charging infrastructure, plus hundreds of millions more on purchasing or premiums and tax breaks. The country is home to the world’s biggest car manufacturer by volume, Volkswagen. While car firms are developing hydrogen fuel cell prototypes alongside battery cars. Europe’s automakers don’t see hydrogen as their first choice of power. Volkswagen has already committed billions of euros to battery based electric vehicle technology. It told Reuters it believes changes in powering mobility must take place in large volumes. Herbert dice Volkswagen CEO tweeted in May that the hydrogen car is proven to not be the climate friendly solution, saying electrification has established itself in traffic.

Nonetheless, new demand for hydrogen is emerging globally. 359 large scale projects have been announced by July 2021. This according to the hydrogen Council and consultants McKinsey, which says 80% of new initiatives were in Europe. So another very interesting article from Reuters and one that I’ve been waiting for for a while. While the European backbone plan has been around for some time, we are now finally starting to see meaningful action to move the project forward, along with some solid numbers, in this case, 69% of existing pipelines being converted for $94 billion. And my feeling right now is that Italy will take the lead alongside Germany to really progress this plan. Next, in a press release on November 10, Hyzon Motors, a leading supplier of hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicles and TC Energy Corporation announced an agreement to collaborate on development, construction, operation and ownership of hydrogen production facilities or hubs across North America. The hydrogen production facilities will be used to meet hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle demand by focusing on low to negative carbon intensity projects from renewable natural gas, biogas and other sustainable sources. The facilities will be located close to market demand supporting Hyzon back to base vehicle deployments.

According to Corey Hessen, TC energy’s senior vice president and president of power and storage. Through this agreement, we are marrying the expertise of TC energy and natural gas and renewables with that of Hyzon, which has its technology and fuel cell electric vehicles being delivered around the world today. TC energy is committed to exploring and developing energy solutions in North America for our own assets as well as those of customers to meet their energy transition needs. We believe we are well positioned to execute on the development of hydrogen and co2 pipelines. Under the agreement the companies will evaluate sites across multiple states and provinces to develop hydrogen production facilities. With the goal of hydrogen delivery to heavy fuel duty vehicles. The hubs will be prioritized near existing and potential customer demand.

With a goal to produce up to 20 tons of hydrogen per hub per day, TC energy will operate the hubs supply the power and gas commodities and provide asset development management services and power and gas sales marketing. utilizing existing partnerships with modular hydrogen technology partners such as Raven SR and Recarbon, TC energy and Hyzon look to site hydrogen hubs to serve Hyzon fleet deployments, enabling unique speed to market for low cost low negative carbon intensity hydrogen infrastructure development. This also complements TC energy’s strong renewable natural gas interconnections and pipeline network.

Currently, Hyzon and TC energy are evaluating near term potential hydrogen hub production sites and a number of states tied to prospective fleet customer deployments. In addition to Hyzon vehicle customers, the partnership will jointly market third party hydrogen volumes to industrial sectors, power generation and energy distribution. So again, this press release highlights something that I’ve been saying recently, and that unlike traditional infrastructure build out, this seems to be the way that hydrogen will make it stand in the US by creating centralized hubs around North America and utilizing low to no cost feedstocks. These joint ventures can really build out a hydrogen infrastructure across North America.

And lastly, in an article from, Emiliano Bellini writes a team of scientists from the US Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Sandia National Labs has proposed the use of aluminum hydride to store hydrogen. This solid state metal hydride also known as an alane is commonly used for rocket fuel, explosives as a reducing agent and alkali batteries, and as a hydrogen source for low temperature fuel cells. According to the researchers, this material is able to overcome the challenge represented by the thermodynamic limitations of hydrides. In storing hydrogen, the unique solid crystallin configuration made it possible to convert bulk metallic aluminum into alane at 60 degrees Celsius and at a hydrogen pressure of only 700 bars, which compares to 6900 bars in conventional processes.

And now while this article Does go into a lot more scientific detail about this process. What’s important to glean from this information is that scientists are now working on a solid, stable environment to house and hold hydrogen. Now, we’re still a long time away from something like this to be commercially viable and scalable. But it’s interesting to note that scientists are working on something that can take hydrogen from a very difficult to transport solution into something very easily stored and transported.

Alright, that’s it for me everyone. If you have any questions, comments or concerns about today’s episode, come and visit me on my website at Or you can always email me at I would really love to hear from you. And as always, take care. Stay safe. I’ll talk to you later.

Hey, this is Paul. I hope you liked this podcast. If you did and want to hear more, I’d appreciate it if you would either subscribe to this channel on YouTube, or connect with your favorite platform through my website at Thanks for listening. I very much appreciate it. Have a great day.