RINA, a multinational engineering inspection, certification and consultancy company, and AFRY, a European leader in engineering, design and consultancy services, have undertaken an initial study on how the Gulf region and Europe could be directly connected with a hydrogen transport pipeline, a key component in climate-friendly energy and industrial systems of the future.
The results point to a transformative opportunity to fully unlock the Gulf's enormous potential as a cost-effective source of low-carbon hydrogen for Europe.
With abundant reserves of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) and Natural Gas, the Gulf region is poised to become a leading global producer of green and blue hydrogen, ammonia and other synthesis products.
The idea of a hydrogen pipeline connecting Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Europe may seem ambitious, but the initial assessment shows its feasibility.
The analysis shows that a suitable pipeline configuration could transport 100 TWh or about 2.5 million tons of hydrogen per year.
Moreover, by building additional pipelines of the same nature, the transport capacity could be significantly increased.
The cost of transporting hydrogen through this pipeline is initially seen at around 1.2 EUR/kg H2.
The Gulf countries, in turn, could supply green and blue hydrogen to Europe's economic hub at a low cost of delivery of hydrogen (LCODH) of around 2.7 EUR/kg starting in the 2030s, reducing it to around 2 .3 EUR/kg in the long term.
Recent geopolitical challenges have forced Europe to explore alternative pathways to energy security, including connecting the Eastern Mediterranean and Europe with a pipeline, explored for the EastMed Natural Gas project.
At the same time, the discussion on the export of hydrogen and its synthesis products from the Gulf to Europe was planned to be done by ships.
These options receive EU subsidies and promote activity in the gas/hydrogen industry, but may not be more efficient for bulk transport.
But planning a competing pipeline from the Gulf region in the near future could offer a viable solution to the EU.
Antonio Nodari, member of the Executive Management Team of AFRY Management Consulting said: “The collaboration between RINA and AFRY provides a unique and extremely interesting view of an important opportunity to take a step forward in the green energy transition for Europe and the MENA region.
In addition to understanding the opportunities, the team of experts who worked on this report have a realistic view of the obstacles that need to be overcome and have the solutions to address these challenges.”
Andrea Bobardi, Executive Vice President of RINA said: "Through the combined expertise of AFRY and RINA, this first-of-its-kind study examines alternative routes, technical parameters and feasibility, specifically for the deepwater pipeline segment, as well as the geostrategic framework treaty but also the high-level economic assessments for a direct hydrogen pipeline connection between the Gulf and Europe as part of an integrated green energy and industry system across Europe and the MENA region'.
If we add to this hydrogen pipeline the East Med pipeline, which many want to "bury but it will not pass", and the pipelines also happen to pass through Greek territory, the geopolitical, economic and strategic value of our country will it was just huge.