Berlin — The German Gas and Water Association (DVGW) has given the signal for the bundled and comprehensive development of technical rules for the generation, supply, admixture, transport, distribution and storage of hydrogen in the natural gas infrastructure.
The aim is to make the existing gas infrastructure fit for a gradual increase in hydrogen content in a climate-friendly energy system. After all, hydrogen has the considerable advantage that it does not generate any CO2 emissions when used energetically. In addition, it can be manufactured renewable and can be used in many ways in industry, heat supply and mobility. “The further development of the regulations creates an important prerequisite in the gas supply industry
The future regulatory framework will initially target a target of about 20% by volume of hydrogen feed. Already today, wherever there are no restrictions due to specific applications, the existing DVGW regulations allow admixtures of almost ten percent in the existing gas network. By the year 2030, this value of ten percent shall be binding on the part of the regulations without any restrictions. However, the goal is much higher: “According to our current state of knowledge, 20 percent seems technically feasible, so some PSUs may be able to do even more, but we also have to keep an eye on the end applications,” says Gerald Linke. “Irrespective of this, we believe that in the future, more than 50 percent of the system will transport green gases, such as biomethane, through the system”.
Rising hydrogen levels require network and device-side adjustments. Due to the specific properties of higher hydrogen admixtures, for example, other materials in compressors, boilers or vehicle tanks must be used. If hydrogen is converted into synthetic methane in a further process step, even an unlimited admixture without device adaptation is possible. “Nevertheless, it makes perfect sense to initially open up and strengthen natural gas infrastructures for hydrogen incorporation, thereby avoiding further conversion losses through methanation and increasing efficiencies,” affirms Linke.
The DVGW has been working for several years on the alignment of the existing regulations for gas infrastructures and gas applications to higher hydrogen levels. To ensure that a future-oriented system of technical rules for the entire power-to-gas process chain is available soon, in the long term the existing regulations and the cooperation partner DWV (German Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association) will be supplemented by a new one for 100 percent hydrogen. The future research results of the DVGW and its institutes will serve as the basis for this.
Together with politics, the DVGW is further developing the gas infrastructure in terms of the energy transition and climate protection. For Germany has a gas network of around 530,000 kilometers that, together with the gas storage tanks, can compensate for fluctuations in regenerative power generation as a buffer. Hydrogen generated via power-to-gas can – with a corresponding system adaptation – be fed directly into the gas grids and reused as needed in the various sectors. He is thus a supporting element of the future “two-energy world”.
DVGW has expertise in research and development based on decades of experience as well as the expertise to regulate a reliable and modern infrastructure. As a recognized rule setter, the DVGW determines the current need for standardization and continuously develops the rules and regulations. In this transparent process, the relevant specialist circles incorporate their specialist knowledge and practical experience. This ensures a dynamic of the technical rules that guarantee state-of-the-art gas supply.