Test in Holzwickede creates important prerequisites for the success of the energy transition
In order to achieve climate goals and reduce CO2 emissions, politics and business are increasingly relying not only on the expansion of renewable energies but also on the use of hydrogen as a climate-neutral energy source. E.ON is now taking a significant step forward in putting this vision into practice: In the new research and development project “H2HoWi” in Holzwickede, North Rhine-Westphalia, an existing public gas pipeline is being converted to pure hydrogen for the first time in Germany . Continuous scientific monitoring should confirm, among other things, that the hydrogen has no influence on the structure of the pipe material and the tightness of the existing infrastructure.
So far there is a technical standard in Germany that limits the addition of hydrogen to the natural gas network to a maximum of 10 percent. Individual tests have already tried a higher admixture. With the project that has just started, the E.ON subsidiary Westnetz is checking whether the existing infrastructure can even be used for pure hydrogen. “The upgrading of the existing gas network infrastructure for hydrogen is an important prerequisite for the success of the energy transition. By converting green electricity into hydrogen, energy generated from renewable sources can be stored in gas networks. The gas networks can thus become the storage facilities of the future. E.ON has set itself the goal of adding green gases to natural gas in the distribution networks and, if necessary, offering a supply of 100 percent hydrogen, ”emphasized E.
“Not all applications can be electrified technically or economically. Hydrogen as an energy carrier is therefore indispensable for all applications in which the direct use of green electricity is technically or economically not possible or sensible. For this, we need the coupling of the various sectors of energy consumption. The use of pure hydrogen is a future-oriented solution due to its CO2-neutral implementation, for example in the area of heat supply and industrial production, ”explained Katherina Reiche, who, in addition to her role as CEO of Westenergie AG, is also the chair of the German government’s National Hydrogen Council.
In the “H2HoWi” project, Westnetz is examining the issue in more detail and analyzing to what extent it is technically possible to convert an existing natural gas pipeline to pure hydrogen. For this purpose, an existing medium-pressure natural gas pipeline in the Ruhr area town of Holzwickede is first disconnected from the natural gas network and then connected to a hydrogen storage facility. Four commercial customers are supplied from here. The required space heating is to be generated with the hydrogen. In addition to changing the line, adjustments to the existing customer installations are also required. Hydrogen-compatible condensing boilers from Remeha are therefore installed on them.
Together with Westnetz GmbH, E.ON SE is setting an important milestone in the sustainable public supply of the municipality of Holzwickede with the “H2HoWi” project. The entire project is being built by Westnetz and will be managed and operated until the end of 2023. Construction work will start in November 2020. The investment volume is around one million euros.