About "H2 Backbone WAG + Penta-West"

The project “H2 Backbone WAG + Penta-West” creates cross-border hydrogen transport possibilities between Slovakia and Austria as well as between Austria and Germany to the extent of 150 GWh/day. Hydrogen can be transported in both directions. Thus, together with other initiatives, a new backbone for the European and Austrian hydrogen supply will be created. The aim is to connect regions with a high potential for hydrogen production with regions of high demand and to make this type of energy available to the European industry and economy in a sufficient and affordable form. 

Within the framework of the project, the West-Austria-Gasleitung (WAG) as well as the pipeline Penta-West (PW) will be supplemented by a parallel line to transport hydrogen. More than 200 kilometres of new pipeline will be built and 140 kilometres of the existing pipeline system will be repurposed. The WAG runs from the Slovak-Austrian border through Lower Austria and Upper Austria to the Austrian- German border. The Penta-West branches off the WAG at Neustift/Oberkappel in Upper Austria and leads to the Austrian-German border point at Überackern.

Value added by "H2 Backbone WAG + Penta-West"

Expansion of the West Austria Gas Pipeline (WAG) and Penta West Pipeline (PW) for the transport of hydrogen

Building the Hydrogen Infrastructure

With the planned expansion of the infrastructure, it will be possible to obtain hydrogen from different sources in the future. Industrial clusters in Austria, such as Styria, the Vienna and Linz metropolitan area, but also surrounding regions in neighbouring countries – especially the Chem-Delta Burghausen and the Inglostadt cluster in Bavaria – could be supplied with hydrogen from regions such as North Africa, Ukraine, Romania or Croatia.

Supply Security and Decarbonization of the Energy System

The use of hydrogen as a climate-neutral energy supplier is an important step for achieving the climate goals of the European Union and its member states. In addition, hydrogen will play an essential role for supply security of the business and industry sectors. Through the planned expansion of the hydrogen infrastructure, the project “H2 Backbone WAG + Penta-West” significantly supports the supply of the Austrian industry, whose demand for hydrogen is continuously increasing. As a recent survey by Austrian Gas Grid Management (AGGM) shows, Austria’s industry has a high demand for hydrogen. Austrian companies estimate they will need 12 terawatt hours (TWh) of hydrogen by 2030 and 47 TWh by 2040. Likewise, in Germany the demand for climate-neutral hydrogen in the industrial sector is also continuously increasing. Subsequently, this region could also be supplied with hydrogen via Austria through the newly created transport options of the “H2 Backbone WAG + Penta-West” project. This results in great potential for the decarbonisation of industry and for saving CO2, in Austria but also in all other countries along the respective transport route. Thus, the project significantly contributes to achieving the Austrian and European climate goals. Furthermore, the diversification of sources will increase the security of supply – also through the connection to storage facilities.

Submitted as PCI Project

“H2 Backbone WAG + Penta-West” was submitted to the European Commission as a “Project of Common Interest” (PCI) and in November 2023, the project was included in the Union list of PCI. This opens up the prospect of accelerated approval and implementation procedures as well as possible European funding. The project meets the European criteria of sustainability, market integration, competition and security of supply. Furthermore, the project is widely supported within Austrian politics, for example from the Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology as well as interest groups from industry and business. Numerous renowned Austrian companies and industrial businesses along the entire hydrogen production chain from North Africa to Bavaria also support the project.

European Unity

A European unity and joint, coordinated action is required to ensure that the European economy and industry can be supplied with the necessary amount of hydrogen needed in the future. The “H2 Backbone WAG + Penta-West” project is part of the Europe-wide REPowerEU initiative, which aims to enable the European import of hydrogen via three major corridors: Via the Mediterranean, the North Sea and – as soon as circumstances allow – Ukraine. As part of this initiative, the “H2 Backbone WAG + Penta-West”, in combination with other planned infrastructure projects, can form two of the three hydrogen import routes, for example, via the “SoutH2Corridor” or via “H2EU + Store” which contribute significantly to the European hydrogen supply. The project will therefore be closely coordinated with the neighbouring transmission system operators to ensure a secure hydrogen transport in the future.

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