The commitment to green hydrogen is a journey towards the future to replace fossil energy in industry and transport, both by land, sea and air. There is still a lot of research and investment to make this alternative energy effective and efficient. The most important thing is to be able to generate renewable electricity in sufficient quantity and cheaply to produce the massive electrolysis needed to separate the hydrogen from the oxygen in water without emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. High hopes are placed on this generation of green hydrogen to decarbonise the European economy. But at the moment its production is still very expensive. The other great challenge is its transportation, since it is a gas with such a low density that, with current systems, it is very difficult to avoid leaks, as well as being corrosive and highly flammable. That there are no leaks is crucial because their presence in the atmosphere contributes to increasing greenhouse gases, such as methane and ozone.
No one doubts, despite the importance of the challenges it presents, that green hydrogen is the great fuel of the future. The EU is committed to it, the Spanish Government and the Generalitat de Catalunya, too. In this scenario, the star project on the immediate horizon, with the political agreement ready to be signed, is the new energy connection between Spain and France through the underwater gas pipeline named H2Med. This gas pipeline, which arises as an alternative to the failure of the MidCat, in a first phase will be able to transport natural gas to be able to supply mainly Germany. But designing and building it so that it can later channel green hydrogen is key for it to be financed by the EU through Next Generation funds. In this way, H2Med will be integrated into the European network of green hydrogen infrastructures and will connect a producing South, thanks to its renewable energies, and a North in need of high-calorie energy to replace natural gas.
The underwater gas pipeline for green hydrogen between Spain and France is a great challenge
The new connection requires a great research effort and, therefore, investment. It is the first time that such a long gas pipeline will be made for green hydrogen and also underwater, and it requires advanced technique and complicated logistics to avoid leaks and explosions. The great advantage is that all the advances made now are an important basis for the future, both for Spain and France and for all of Europe. Hence, Brussels must approve the project and its financing.
Numerous research centers, both here and in the rest of the world, are working hard on the technology necessary to make the use of green hydrogen profitable. The H2Med gas pipeline –or hydroduct– is therefore an essential first step for the future, a testing ground that should not be renounced no matter how many difficulties, technical or economic. The world advances based on challenges, and this is a great challenge.