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Hydrogen implications for gas network operators

image credit: Delta-EE Copyright 2021

Andy Bradley's picture
Director Delta-EE

Andy is a Director of Delta-EE, a specialist research and consultancy company in the 'new energy' sector. Since joining Delta-EE in 2010, Andy has helped define and develop Delta-EE’s portfolio...

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Europe has built up one of the best gas distribution infrastructures in the world. There’s one problem though. It distributes natural gas, a fuel that we will hardly be able to use if we’re to reach our net zero targets. Can we use the infrastructure instead for clean hydrogen – either blended with natural gas as a stepping stone, or with pure hydrogen in the future? In this episode we put aside discussion on the extent to which we should do this – and focus on whether or not we can do this, and what’s involved in doing so.

In this episode of Delta-EE's podcast, Talking New Energy, Jon Slowe is joined by Eva Henning, Head of Department for EU Energy Policy at Thüga, an alliance of German municipal energy companies (as well as chair of Eurogas’s distribution committee); Keith Owen Head of Systems Development and Energy Strategy at Northern Gas Networks in the UK; and Delta-EE expert, Rob Castek.

 

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jun 10, 2021

Can we use the infrastructure instead for clean hydrogen – either blended with natural gas as a stepping stone, or with pure hydrogen in the future?

This is an intriguing possibility, but the one thing that makes me nervous is furthering what might otherwise be stranded assets amid an energy transition. Could we see new gas lines built with the (whether genuine or not) messaging that this is a good investment because it might be useful for a hydrogen future as well? 

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Andy Bradley on Jun 17, 2021

Yes, ultimately the gas infrastructure could be used for clean hydrogen. Blending with natural gas is only really an interim solution but will help to reduce carbon emissions and build demand for hydrogen. The longer term game is working out whether and which parts of the gas network could or should be repurposed for hydrogen. Technically, this is do-able.

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