E.ON completes ’20Hygrid’ hydrogen admixture project in Romania

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The main conclusion of the project, carried out for the first time in Romania, is that the use of the mixture in distribution networks, installations and existing customer appliances, without the need for any modifications, is technically possible and without additional risks compared to the use of natural gas.

The main components of the existing natural gas distribution network are already prepared for hydrogen, according to the study. At pressures lower than 16 bar, there are no fundamental limitations for hydrogen supply in terms of tightness, materials, and functionality of network elements.

“Green gases improve people’s lives, offering even better long-term comfort as they also protect the environment. The 20HyGrid project shows that our natural gas distribution networks play a key role in transporting green gases to industry, households, and wherever it is needed,” said Volker Raffel, CEO of E.ON Romania. “We must act now, together with the authorities and other market players, to capitalise on Romania’s huge potential and all the specific advantages it has to become a hydrogen hub at the regional level, a relevant player in the market, meeting the conditions throughout the entire value chain of the new energy vector.”

The concentration of relevant combustion gas components, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxide, has also decreased significantly compared to that recorded for 100 per cent natural gas. In the case of condensing boilers, the carbon monoxide concentration decreased by values ranging from 23-52 per cent, and respectively by values ranging from 30-50 per cent for nitrogen oxide concentration, these being average values for all tested condensing boilers, at minimum and maximum flow rates. In the case of conventional boilers, without condensation, the reduction values for nitrogen oxides are lower, considering the older manufacturing technology.

“An important step in the energy transition is the implementation of hydrogen technologies. We welcome with great interest the project developed by Delgaz Grid/E.ON group because it can provide the practical basis necessary for the implementation of regulations in this field, a new field in Europe that requires careful consideration of technical conditions and specific standards, to ensure the safety conditions in operation. It is a starting point in the use of a mixture of 20 per cent hydrogen and 80 per cent natural gas in distribution networks with strict compliance with all technical and safety conditions of the population,” said George Niculescu, President of the National Energy Regulatory Authority (ANRE).

The tested appliances, including condensing and conventional boilers, heaters, water heaters, stoves and burners from heating and cooking stoves, operated properly without relevant technical differences compared to the behaviour when using natural gas in terms of stability, noise and so on. Several models of condensing boilers (from different manufacturers) were tested, which operated without problems even with a mixture of natural gas and higher volumes of hydrogen in natural gas, namely 30 and 35 per cent.

All atmospheric burners behaved similarly when burning natural gas and the mixture, with no differences in appearance, stability, flame uniformity, noise, etc., and no technical issues in operation at both minimum and maximum flow rates.

“The 20HyGrid pilot project, alongside other pilot projects carried out worldwide, represents a bridge to transitioning to hydrogen networks in the public supply of green gases. To achieve the climate neutrality target, it is imperative to develop financing programs that support the conversion and modernisation of the natural gas infrastructure for the transport and distribution of climate-neutral gases,” added Dr Cristian Călin, Technical Manager of Delgaz Grid and coordinator of the 20HyGrid project.

Delgaz Grid intends to start other pilot projects in this direction, as it is necessary to develop the corresponding legislative framework as soon as possible, Romania’s Energy Ministry noted in a press release. The company aims to carry out several pilot projects with a mixture of natural gas and hydrogen in other areas of interest, such as supplying non-residential consumers, carrying out pilot projects for injecting biomethane into the natural gas distribution system, and developing other decarbonisation solutions, such as reducing methane emissions and green gas heat pumps.

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