Polish Oil and Gas Company (PGNiG) has launched a research and development project called ELIZA. In the future, the company wants to generate hydrogen through electrolysis relying on renewable energy sources and then inject it into gas storage facilities. This has been identified as one of the business areas holding the greatest growth potential for the entire Group.
'The PGNiG Group has capabilities and a long track record in the distribution, storage and use of natural gas. It also intends to become a leader in the development of hydrogen technologies in Poland,’ says Łukasz Kroplewski, Vice President of the PGNiG Management Board, Development. ‘Taking a long-term perspective, hydrogen is the future of the global energy sector. The only by-product of hydrogen combustion is steam, which makes it a truly green fuel. Burning a mixture of natural gas and hydrogen produces less emissions of carbon dioxide. Therefore, such fuel is more environmentally friendly and emission charges are lower,’ Mr Kroplewski adds.
In “R&D Foresight” analyses prepared by the PGNiG Research and Development Department, hydrogen-related projects have been identified among business areas holding the greatest growth potential for the entire Group. ‘We are already a member of the Polish Cluster of Hydrogen and Clean Coal Technologies. A technical competence centre for hydrogen has been established at the PGNiG Central Measurement and Testing Laboratory. We are also working on a document that would set out a comprehensive research and development programme for hydrogen technologies at the Group,’ says Dariusz Dzirba, Head of the Research and Development Department of PGNiG SA.
A group of partners working with PGNiG on the ELIZA project includes the Oil and Gas Institute. A dedicated research team will carry out reservoir testing and economic viability analyses for storing hydrogen in underground gas storage facilities.
‘Gas storage facilities can be prepared for storing hydrogen. The purpose of ELIZA is to answer the question of how to mix natural gas with hydrogen in the most effective manner, so that neither loses its quality while being injected and then stored in such storage facilities,’ explains Grzegorz Rosłonek, Head of the PGNiG Central Measurement and Testing Laboratory.
Electrolysis is a technique in which electric current is applied to decompose water into hydrogen and oxygen. Wind turbines could be a potential source of electricity needed for the process. The oxygen produced through electrolysis would be released into the atmosphere, while the hydrogen could be stored and, in the future, used at filling stations or fed into the gas grid. Injecting appropriate quantities of hydrogen into the gas grid would not affect the operation of grid infrastructure.
As part of its hydrogen projects PGNiG plans to draw on the experience of Japan, the world’s leader in the development of hydrogen technologies, and Japanese companies, which have already implemented a number of hydrogen-based solutions. PGNiG experts had an opportunity to find out about such projects during the recent International Hydrogen Conference held in Tokyo and when visiting Japanese companies.