The IEA Global Hydrogen Review of 2022 states that Hydrogen clusters will catalyse larger infrastructure development and will facilitate large-scale hydrogen trade when linked to ports.  These hubs offer the four most important conditions for the rollout of hydrogen:

  1. Nerve centre for upscaling
  2. Existence and use of existing infrastructure like an existing gas grid
  3. Development of hydrogen applications in transport and mobility along EU’s transport corridors.
  4. Hydrogen as a ‘commodity’, for trade.

The first corridors on which these hubs should evolve are being discussed following the REPowerEU Plan communication in 2022, in which the European Commission will support the development of three major hydrogen import corridors via the Mediterranean, North Sea area
and, as soon as conditions allow, with Ukraine. The European Hydrogen Backbone initiative In May 2022, suggested the development of five large-scale pipeline corridors that could help achieve Europe’s 2030 hydrogen targets, connecting demand and supply between European countries and in the future could link with neighbouring regions that offer export potential. These might include: hydrogen from North Africa via Italy to Germany and other Central European countries; hydrogen from North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula to France; offshore hydrogen supply in the North Sea to Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and United Kingdom; hydrogen supply from the Baltic Sea to Nordic and Baltic countries, and hydrogen from East and Southeast Europe (Romania, Greece and Ukraine) to Central Europe and Germany.

With the launch on May 25, 2023 of the “H2Barge1”, a 184 TUE container barge sporting two 20ft hydrogen containers and a 825 kW fuel cell, and 504 kWh lithium ion battery for peak power, noise and pollution free shipping “returned” under the bridges of Rotterdam. Calling at the Port of Rotterdam, the Maas, developed by Future Proof Shipping, is also the most visible and concrete evidence to date of Rotterdam’s ambition to become one of the world’s first hydrogen hubs, as all electrolyser, hydrogen pipeline and ammonia infra, while some investment decisions have recently been taken, are still on the drawing board… Future Proof Shipping’s zero-emissions 110m x 11.45m inland containership, H2 Barge 1 is chartered by BCTN,  the largest Terminal operator of the Benelux,  to transport Nike sneakers. The vessel, expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2000 tonnes of CO2e per year, will sail between Rotterdam and BCTN’s inland terminal in Meerhout several times a week.

Energy Hub Port Wilhelmshafen in Northern Germany, including E.ON, RWE en Orsted, on April 6, 2023 announced a 5 bln investment until 2030 for 1GW of electrolyzers of green hydrogen production, CO2 storage and import of green hydrogen and ammonia. Access heat of the electrolyzers could be used in the papermills of PKV.  The German oil company Wintershall Dea invests one bln euro in two projects, BlueHyNow and CO2nnectNow. BlueHyNow will steam reform gas into hydrogen and and store CO@ to be shipped by CO2nnectNow to Norway and Denmark. Wilhelmshafen could in this way produce 60%  of the the German hydrogen demand and import 2.6 mln of green hydrogen according to a dena study presented on May 9, 2023 in Berlin.