With the rapid development of renewable energy – hydrogen – projects in Europe, Lithuanian companies take a new initiative of launching production and transportation of green hydrogen for energy sector.
Green hydrogen is so-called because it is produced from renewable energy sources and does not emit CO2.
Lithuanian gas transmission system operator Amber Grid, energy distribution operator ESO and company SG dujos Auto signed a cooperation agreement on the development of hydrogen production via power-to-gas (P2G) technology. During the project, a green hydrogen-producing unit will be connected to the Lithuanian gas system for the first time. The pilot project is planned to be implemented and P2G production of green hydrogen gas is expected to be launched in 2024, in Lithuania.
Implementation of this R&D project is aimed at determining how the existing gas system could be adapted for green hydrogen transportation. During the project implementation, electrolysis equipment of hydrogen production will be connected to the renewable energy production facilities and gas transmission and distribution system. Hydrogen gas produced by electrolysis in the P2G plant will be mixed in various proportions with natural gas and transported to consumers.
‘Energy transformation by implementing clean energy technologies is the strategic goal of Lithuania fulfilling national and European commitments related to decarbonisation of various sectors. We exert efforts to build a base for hydrogen energy development in the nearest future, therefore the hydrogen production project initiated by state companies and businesses is an important step in pursuit of a breakthrough by creating a suitable economic environment for green Lithuania development’, stated Minister of Energy Dainius Kreivys.
In Europe, hydrogen technology is named as one of the most feasible alternatives to fossil fuel to reach the climate change reduction goals. Therefore, the European Commission approved the documents of the Green Deal and Hydrogen Strategy last year.
‘As we have received the first application to connect a hydrogen plant to the gas transmission system, we are intended to take a step into a new stage of energy. Hydrogen still is a novelty, but we already know that with appropriate preparations made we’ll be able to transport it via a gas network. We are now carrying out infrastructure examinations, proportions of safe and reliable feed of green hydrogen into the network, and its mixture with gas. It is a highly promising project, therefore we promote other market participants to take initiative and active part in hydrogen development projects’, said CEO of Amber Grid Nemunas Biknius.
The signed agreement states that SG dujos Auto company will buy and mount a Power-to-gas hydrogen production plant in the south-eastern part of Lithuania. It will consist of an electrolyser, hydrogen storage, compression and other elements. Equipment for mixing hydrogen with natural gas, green hydrogen inlet unit, and monitoring equipment will be mounted in the gas transmission system of Amber Grid. According to international experts, green hydrogen could account for up to 10 percent of the gas mixture. ESO will participate in the assessment of the impact of the above-mentioned gas mixture on the gas distribution system and consumers.
‘Green hydrogen will become an inseparable part of energy in the future and preparations for that have to be done today. Once green hydrogen is in the gas network, reliable and safe supply of such gas mixture through transmission and distribution networks to the final consumer must be ensured. Participating in this project, we will gain useful experience of working with new generation gas mixtures and make direct contribution to decarbonisation of the energy sector,’ affirmed Mindaugas Keizeris ESO Chief Executive Officer. Gradual decarbonisation is pursued in all activities of Ignitis Group.
Hydrogen production by electrolysis (power-to-gas) is the conversion of electricity into gas. When electric current passes water in a P2G unit, water molecules split into oxygen and hydrogen gas. Hydrogen gas fed into the gas pipeline network mixes with natural gas and the produced gas mixture is supplied to consumers.
‘Hydrogen transportation via natural gas networks is an important and eagerly awaited step that opens new possibilities for the use of the existing gas transmission infrastructure for hydrogen transportation. Seven years ago, we were the first in Lithuania to invest in the research of the possible use of green hydrogen as a fuel additive in motor engines using natural gas. The use of hydrogen in Lithuanian transport sounded like something from science fiction at that time, however, bus fleets of three Lithuanian cities have been using our developed hydrogen and natural gas filling modules for several years by now; international car manufacturers show active interest in application of this technology for transport. Until now, production of hydrogen for Lithuanian transport was locally based, therefore, once the possibility of its transmission via gas pipeline networks arises, we would have absolutely different possibilities for our contribution to future energy creation in Lithuania and faster reformation of the Lithuanian transport sector to be able to take a faster pace on the green route set by the EU. We believe it is only the beginning, and in a few years’ time similar decisions will go without saying and be inseparable elements of the energy sector’, said Director of SG dujos Auto Vidas Korsakas.
Transportation of hydrogen via gas network will reduce greenhouse gas emission, prevent methane discharge, and reduce CO2 emissions. Green hydrogen mixing with natural gas is cost-effective by decarbonising the gas sector.
Gas system is planned to be adapted to transportation of pure hydrogen or methane and hydrogen mixture by 2030. Lithuania intends to focus more attention on research of green hydrogen production, transportation and related activities, implementation of demonstration projects to get prepared for the transition to the use of hydrogen technologies.
Hydrogen handles the green energy storage problem. With electricity generation from renewable energy sources growing and surplus energy in the network accumulating and electricity consumption fluctuating, a stable and balanced energy system must be ensured. Following the conversion of surplus energy into green hydrogen and supply to gas system, energy can be stored in gas form, and when needed, green electricity or heating energy can be produced from it.