Wednesday, December 2, 2020

EU: a strategy to use pipelines for hydrogen

 Pan-European media network specialised in EU policies Euractiv reports about a recent EU strategy to include hydrogen into the energy pool. Question arises on whether hydrogen can be added to piped gas or if the gas pipelines need to be retrofitted or if even a completely independent pipeline system has to be constructed:

While natural gas pipelines can be used to carry hydrogen, the cost of retrofitting infrastructure combined with end-user requirements at the local level, will determine whether blended or pure hydrogen is delivered to the final consumer, industry experts say.

Clean hydrogen – the sort produced from renewables through electrolysis – is considered a central element of the decarbonised energy system envisioned by the European Commission.

Low-carbon gases such as hydrogen or biomethane can replace fossil fuels in hard-to-abate sectors of the economy such as the steel or chemical industry, shipping, aviation and heavy-duty road transport where electrification is currently not feasible or too expensive.

Scaling up the production and use of clean hydrogen has therefore become a political priority for the European Commission, which presented a dedicated hydrogen strategy in July.

And while hydrogen today is mostly produced close to where it is used, that might change in the future as both production volumes and transport distances look set to increase.

Pipelines, after all, “are the cheapest method of distribution where demand is large enough,” says an EU-funded study by consultancies Guidehouse and Tractabel Impact, which was published by the European Commission in July this year.

“A progressive uptake of hydrogen solutions can also lead to repurposing or re-using parts of the existing natural gas infrastructure, helping to avoid stranded assets in pipelines,” the Commission wrote in its hydrogen strategy.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

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