European transmission system operator OGE and Belgian hydrogen company Tree Energy Solutions (TES) are developing a pipeline network to transport CO2 across Germany and enable its reuse in a closed-loop system to transport renewable hydrogen. The network will span 1,000km and transport around 18 million tonnes of CO2 a year.

A natural gas pipeline near Gustebin, Germany. (Photo by Stefan Dinse via Shutterstock)

OGE and TES – which has announced a green hydrogen hub for importing “green gas” centred on renewable hydrogen into Wilhelmshaven, Germany – recently formed a strategic partnership to create a CO2 circular economy.

“The CO2 pipeline network supports the closed-loop circularity strategy, ensuring that CO2 can be kept within the TES cycle and greenhouse gas emissions are avoided,” says Paul van Poecke, founder and managing director at TES. “Via this project, the CO2 will be captured and reused in a circular closed-loop system as a carrier to transport green hydrogen or as a resource for other industries.”

The process will work as follows: TES will generate renewable electricity from solar, wind and hydropower to produce renewable hydrogen; for example, on the Arabian Peninsula. This will be combined with CO2 to turn it into synthetic methane, so it can be transported to industrial customers as a liquid. In Wilhelmshaven, the methane can be split back into renewable hydrogen for use and CO2, which is transported back to the renewable generators to be recombined with new renewable hydrogen.

The pipeline network, starting from the import terminal at Wilhelmshaven, will integrate industrial, power and mobility locations around Germany. OGE and TES are in discussions with German steel producers, cement/lime producers, power plant operators and chemical plant operators to transport CO2 to the Wilhelmshaven green hydrogen hub. The first part of the network is expected to be commissioned from 2028.

Carbon capture and use can reduce, recycle or even remove emissions from the atmosphere, but its role in climate action depends on the carbon’s origin and destination.