Progress in pilot project with hydrogen in existing network

The German »H2Direkt« project to test the suitability of existing natural gas networks for operation with 100 percent hydrogen is making unexpectedly good progress. Starting next fall, ten households and one commercial enterprise in Hohenwart (Bavaria) are to be supplied with pure hydrogen for the 2023/2024 heating period. Since there is not yet a supra-regional network, the hydrogen will be transported by truck and then fed into the existing local gas network via a feed-in station currently under construction. Therefore, it was first necessary to examine which components of the »rededicated« network would have to be replaced or modified for operation with pure hydrogen.
The result, which was not necessarily expected by all observers and also by the project participants themselves, was that the tests carried out by the DVGW-EBI research institute gave »green light for all components installed in the distribution network area«. They were all suitable for 100 percent hydrogen. This also applies to components in the heating installations of the buildings, such as gas flow monitors or house inlet systems, and in principle even to the existing volumetric gas meters, which are nevertheless being replaced with larger, commercially available meters because of the greater volumetric flow of hydrogen compared to methane. The heating systems in the trial are to be supplied by H2-capable condensing boilers from the cooperation partner Vaillant.
The project partners are the energy supply companies Tüga AG and Energie Südbayern GmbH (as well as their grid company Energienetze Bayern). The project is »unique in Germany so far,« according to a statement. The aim is to »demonstrate that existing gas distribution networks can be operated with pure hydrogen,« which would be a key factor in the use of »green« hydrogen generated by renewable energies.
© PHOTON

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