The European Union has set a goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050 and decided to raise its 2030 climate target to 55 per cent. For this, the EU needs to transform its energy system. It is of paramount importance that it will become more efficient, affordable and interconnected. Hydrogen can play a pivotal role in the EU’s decarbonisation efforts and be at the centre of the energy system integration, supporting the transport of renewable energy over very long distances and facilitating renewables storage from one season to another.
The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSOG), Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE) and Hydrogen Europe have joined forces on a factsheet that answers a number of fundamental questions about gaseous and liquid hydrogen transport and storage, entitled How to transport and store hydrogen? Facts and figures. This factsheet provides an objective and informative analysis of key concepts, terminology and facts and figures from different public sources.
The factsheet illustrates the EU’s potential to enable a global hydrogen economy and to become a global technology leader, due to its extensive gas infrastructure that can be used to transport blends of hydrogen or be converted to transport pure hydrogen.
In particular, there are three pathways for the integration of hydrogen into the gas system: the injection of hydrogen and its blending with natural gas in the existing gas infrastructure, the development of a dedicated hydrogen network through conversion of the existing gas infrastructure or via the construction of new hydrogen infrastructure and finally via methanation, consisting in capturing CO2, combined with hydrogen in order to produce e-methane, injected in the gas network.
Blending represents an easy entry point into the hydrogen economy, allowing for quick decentralised deployment of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen technologies as well as centralised production scale-up. Hydrogen blending can reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) when produced from clean energy sources. Blending can also be a cost-effective transitional option in those regions without parallel or duplicated networks, or without (potentially) available gas infrastructure capacity which can be easily repurposed to hydrogen in the short term. On the other hand, main challenges can include measurement, energy conversion, process gas chromatographs, and gas metering. Moreover, there are different levels of blending shares across the EU, posing an obstacle to the interoperability of gas networks.