Bratislava— The Slovak gas transmission system operator EUSTREAM prepares its network for transporting renewable and low-carbon gasses.
The company plans adjustments that will make its network technologically ready for blending up to 5 percent of hydrogen into the transported natural gas, as early as at the end of 2023. With the current volumes of natural gas transmission, Slovakia will be soon technologically ready to transport theoretically more than 2 bcm of hydrogen per year and thus to accommodate expected gradual increase in hydrogen supply/demand.
“So far our key network development priority has been the diversification of routes and building interconnections with neighboring countries. This will be fulfilled once the last missing interconnection – the new Poland-Slovakia Gas Interconnection is completed. In the new phase of the network development, our primary focus is to get ready for the low-carbon economy and support European climate ambitions. Our latest initiative allows us to be soon technologically ready for hydrogen blending up to 5 percent of the volume transported. We believe that this can provide a significant stimulus to promote the development of hydrogen capacities in the region,” said Director General of EUSTREAM Rastislav Ňukovič.
Today, blending represents an available way to promote the hydrogen transportation and its usage via existing gas infrastructure in a very short time; e.g. to store excess energy produced from the renewable sources. In order to make this possible, we need to invest in new technologies allowing for measuring transported hydrogen. EUSTREAM plans to install new devices across its network within the framework of the next two years and thus making the Slovak grid ready to work with hydrogen.
EUSTREAM also plans to develop an own photovoltaic plant to produce green hydrogen in its premises and then use it for fueling compressors, a unique move among TSOs. The first pilot project to decarbonize own operations is planned for the Veľké Kapušany compressor station, with expected hydrogen production in 2023.
In further development, EUSTREAM will utilize the unique advantage of the Slovak transmission network, which consists of several parallel pipelines connecting Ukraine, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary and, in the near future, Poland. As a member of the European Hydrogen Backbone initiative, we plan to dedicate part of the transmission network only for transport of 100% hydrogen. The modernized corridor of several parallel pipelines will allow the combined transport of natural gas and hydrogen, depending on the actual development of demand and hydrogen capacities.