In Schopsdorf, a town in Saxony-Anhalt, preparations are underway for a unique project: Avacon, an E.ON subsidiary, plans to raise the hydrogen admixture-rate for its natural gas pipeline grid to as much as 20 percent, a first in German gas distribution.
The joint project with DVGW, the German Gas and Water Association, aims to show that it is feasible to blend hydrogen into natural gas grids at much higher rates than today. Apart from showing that the network installations can cope with the higher concentrations, it will be important to demonstrate the hydrogen compatibility of end-use devices including household appliance. In autumn of this year, Avacon will put up to 400 heating systems and other customer devices in Schopsdorf to the “acid test”. The results of the joint project will serve as a model for future hydrogen use in gas distribution systems.
The project is part of E.ON’s Green Gas from Green Power initiative, which focuses on hydrogen technology. PowerToGas (P2G) plants can convert locally generated electricity from wind and solar into “green” hydrogen. This can be fed directly into gas distribution grids within permissible limits and be used at the customers to reduce carbon emissions from space heating, mobility applications and industrial processes.
This so-called decarbonization has great potential for turning the power transition into a comprehensive energy transition: 95 percent of today’s renewable energy systems in Germany are already connected to distribution grids. As a result, the energy world of tomorrow will become increasingly distributed, and sector coupling will also happen at the local level.
This is precisely what the pilot project in Schopsdorf is aiming to achieve. With customers increasingly demanding green gas, E.ON wants to upgrade its gas distribution grids to carry as much hydrogen as possible. The grid section of Avacon’s gas distribution system in Schopsdorf is ideally suited for the project because the grid infrastructure installed there is representative of the entire Avacon service area, which means the results are scalable.
Thomas König, member of the E.ON Board of Management, commented: “We can only achieve Germany’s climate targets, if we significantly reduce carbon emissions in all sectors. That’s why this project is setting standards across our industry. Maximizing hydrogen concentrations in our gas grids is an important step towards a carbon-free energy world.”
The project will receive comprehensive guidance from DVGW experts. One of the aims of the project is to incorporate the knowledge gained into the development of the DVGW’s technical rules while ensuring that the current applicable admixture limit of less than ten percent of hydrogen is doubled.