Austria Signs Pact for Hydrogen Corridor

PeopleOther ♦ Published: May 30, 2024; 20:57 ♦ (Vindobona)

In a step towards a sustainable energy future, the energy ministers of Italy, Germany, and Austria have signed a joint declaration of intent to develop a hydrogen import corridor between the three countries.

A hydrogen gasification plant for the Belinka Perkemija chemical company in Slovenia. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / Doremo / CC BY-SA 4.0 (

The signing took place today in Brussels and marks the official start of the "Southern Hydrogen Corridor", which has already been recognized by the EU as a project of common interest. The Southern Hydrogen Corridor is expected to play an important role in Europe's energy security and climate policy. The trilateral partnership aims to supply the most important industrial demand clusters in the participating countries and at the same time support the EU's climate targets. The ministers emphasized the strategic importance of the project for the decarbonization of hard-to-decarbonize sectors and for promoting a European transition to hydrogen technologies, as reported by ORF.

Hydrogen from North Africa

The hydrogen that will be transported along this corridor will be produced primarily in North Africa using wind and solar energy. This renewable energy source will be supplied via existing natural gas pipelines from Algeria via Tunisia to Italy and Austria to Germany. This strategy enables efficient use of the existing infrastructure, with around 70 percent of the approximately 3,000-kilometre-long connection being used.

Voices of the ministers involved

German Economics Minister Robert Habeck emphasized, as reported by the "Handeslblatt", that the southern corridor is particularly important for supplying the southern German states with green hydrogen. "With a well-functioning cross-border hydrogen pipeline infrastructure, a major step can be taken to build a fully interconnected European hydrogen network," Habeck explained.

The Italian Minister for the Environment and Energy Security, Gilberto Pichetto Fratin, also emphasized the importance of the project. "The development of clean energy potential and the promotion of growth and security on both sides of the Mediterranean are priorities for the Italian government," he explained. The Austrian Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler also underlined the importance of the project for Europe and Africa and emphasized the need to exploit the clean energy potential of the African continent and promote its connection to Europe.

Trilateral working group and cooperation

As part of the MoU, a trilateral working group was established to coordinate the cooperation of relevant stakeholders, such as transmission system operators, national regulators, and potential hydrogen consumers and producers. This working group will ensure that all necessary steps are taken to realize the import of 10 million tons of renewable hydrogen by 2030.

Support from the EU

The Southern Hydrogen Corridor has already been selected as a Project of Common Interest (PCI) by the EU, which facilitates funding and supports the implementation of the project. This recognition underlines the importance of the corridor for Europe's energy future and its role in ensuring a stable and sustainable energy supply.

The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding is an important step towards a sustainable and secure energy future for Europe. The Southern Hydrogen Corridor will not only strengthen the energy security of the countries involved but will also make a significant contribution to the decarbonization of European industry and support the EU's climate goals. As the cornerstone of Europe's green energy landscape, this project will pave the way for a cleaner and safer energy future.

Austria's Ministry of Energy

Germany's Ministry of Energy

Italy's Ministry of Energy