Impact of large-scale hydrogen electrification and retrofitting of natural gas infrastructure on the European power system

Germán Morales-España, Ricardo Hernández-Serna, Diego A. Tejada-Arango*, Marcel Weeda

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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In this paper, we aim to analyse the impact of hydrogen production decarbonisation and electrification scenarios on the infrastructure development, generation mix, CO2 emissions, and system costs of the European power system, considering the retrofit of the natural gas infrastructure. We define a reference scenario for the European power system in 2050 and use scenario variants to obtain additional insights by breaking down the effects of different assumptions. The scenarios were analysed using the European electricity market model COMPETES, including a proposed formulation to consider retrofitting existing natural gas networks to transport hydrogen instead of methane. According to the results, 60% of the EU's hydrogen demand is electrified, and approximately 30% of the total electricity demand will be to cover that hydrogen demand. The primary source of this electricity would be non-polluting technologies. Moreover, hydrogen flexibility significantly increases variable renewable energy investment and production, and reduces CO2 emissions. In contrast, relying on only electricity transmission increases costs and CO2 emissions, emphasising the importance of investing in an H2 network through retrofitting or new pipelines. In conclusion, this paper shows that electrifying hydrogen is necessary and cost-effective to achieve the EU's objective of reducing long-term emissions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109686
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Electrical Power and Energy Systems
Publication statusPublished - 2024


This research has received funding from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking under grant agreement No. 735503 (H2Future project) and from the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) under the European Union’s HORIZON Research and Innovation Actions under grant agreement No. 101095998 .


  • Electrification
  • Hydrogen
  • Retrofit
  • Steam methane reforming


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