German gas distributor says network is ready for 30% hydrogen blend following successful pilot scheme
German gas distributor says network is ready for 30% hydrogen blend following successful pilot scheme
July 1, 2024
By Leigh Collins

A gas distributor in Germany says its network is ready for hydrogen blends of up to 30%, following a successful pilot project in its home state of Baden-Württemberg.

Stuttgart-based Netze BW — the largest electricity, gas and water network operator in the state — said that its gas distribution network is “fundamentally capable of transporting climate-friendly hydrogen” after completing its Hydrogen Island Öhringen scheme.

The project involved a Netze BW property and 26 adjacent households in which the amount of hydrogen in an islanded gas grid was gradually increased until it hit a blend of 30% H2 (and 70% natural gas).

“The 30% hydrogen addition worked without any problems,” said Martin Konermann, Netze BW’s managing director for technology. “No complex adjustments to the existing infrastructure were necessary — neither for Netze BW with regard to the gas network, not for end consumers with regard to their gas boilers and stoves.”

Last week, Brussels-based non-profit organisation Environmental Coalition on Standards released a report saying that it found that a 20% hydrogen blend more than doubled leaks from existing domestic gas cookers compared to using fossil gas, when used under normal household conditions. And it added that existing gas boilers saw an emissions increase of 44% on average when using the H2/methane blend.

Netze BW — which is 100% owned by major German utility EnBW — said that its pipelines are “largely suitable” for 100% hydrogen, but that this would only happen if its gas grid was connected to Germany’s planned national core H2 network.

“Renewable hydrogen will be part of municipal heating planning,” said Konermann, with the future of domestic heat supply having three pillars: “Heat pumps, heating networks and, as a supplement, hydrogen.”

Netze BW “currently assumes that the gradual hydrogen transformation will begin in Baden-Württemberg from 2032”, the company added in its press release.

However, more than 50 independent studies have shown that 100% hydrogen heating would be the most expensive way to decarbonise space heating.

Indeed, the state of Baden-Württemberg’s own home energy advisory body declared last summer that H2 is “too scarce, too expensive and too inefficient” to be used to heat buildings.

Please click here if you want to read the original article.