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Injection of hydrogen into transport networks: towards Franco-German research cooperation

“Preparing networks for the arrival of hydrogen” is the name of one of the 13 research programs conducted by our teams, but it is above all an expression of a strong conviction, enshrined in RICE’s DNA, that new gases – including hydrogen – offer promising prospects for gas industry players in the context of the energy transition.

To take full advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead, the research and development effort must be sustainable and collective. This is the meaning of the “historic” partnership signed on 14 January 2020 by major European carriers.

ONTRAS Gastransport GmbH, a German gas transport network and GRT gaz’s counterpart GRTgaz Deutschland GmbH, a German subsidiary of GRT gaz and GRT gaz S.A. This European collaboration agreement will allow the sharing of their respective knowledge and research on transport, and the mixing of hydrogen and natural gas in their networks.

The challenge of increasing the share of hydrogen injected into our networks calls for a pan-European effort. To this end, Franco-German research cooperation offers great potential for new developments in the gas transport sector. We actively support this collaboration which will strengthen the sharing of our complementary expertise said Nicolas Delaporte, Managing Director of GRTgaz Deutschland GmbH.

This agreement strengthens cross-border cooperation between transport network managers and contributes to the deployment of hydrogen and new carbon-neutral gases across Europe.

ONTRAS has a long history of gas blending: we have had two Power-to-Gas stations injecting hydrogen into our network for several years. Thanks to European cooperation in the hydrogen-natural gas mix separation project and the network equipment testing project, we are opening up new possibilities for the use of existing networks for future cross-border transport of green gas.” said Ralph Bahke, Managing Director of ONTRAS Gastransport GmbH.

Two flagship projects at the heart of this collaboration

Two projects define the key principles of this agreement. The first project, led by ONTRAS, involves a technology to separate natural gas and hydrogen. The goal is to build a hydrogen separation membrane pilot in combination with natural gas, allowing the recovery of high purity hydrogen. Testing will begin in 2020.

The second project, carried out by GRTgaz, involves running hydrogen sealing tests on natural gas network equipment. The test benches that will be used are part of the FenHYx hydrogen research and development project and will be built in 2020 by our research center. German and French transport network managers will share their experience and plan or conduct projects together to gather and share relevant information. Their shared goal is to make it possible to transport hydrogen into their networks.

GRTgaz has been committed for many years to exploring different ways to contribute to the development of hydrogen, for example by mixing it with methane in its network, or by supporting innovative projects such as pyrogasification or by piloting the Power-to-Gas Jupiter 1000 demonstrator in southeastern France. Our agreement with ONTRAS will strengthen European research and development efforts to deploy hydrogen and achieve carbon neutrality. This collaborative agreement offers new opportunities to accommodate hydrogen in gas networks and help identify reliable and competitive solutions for the development of the sector Thierry Trouvé, Managing Director of GRTgaz.

With the conviction that gas has its place in tomorrow’s energy mix, our engineers work every day within programs specifically dedicated to energy transition, adaptation of existing networks and analysis of new gases for more environmentally friendly energy.

Read GRT Gas’s press release.

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Sylvain Lemelletier, Partnerships delegate, presents RICE's work lines in relation to Power-to-Gas.
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