The lack of involvement of the responsible institutions in regulation risks leaving consumers without energy

European financing of gas networks is no longer eligible, but that of hydrogen networks is, recalls Dumitru Chisăliță, president of the Intelligent Energy Association, explaining how some companies can cheat the system.

Natural gas pipelines

European financing of gas networks is no longer eligible. Photo by Shutterstock

“Many companies find themselves in this situation to “fancy” the system, announcing that they will make “hydrogen ready” networks in order to access the money, but their intention is to use it to transport natural gas”, explains Dumitru Chisăliță.

This situation can lead to the creation of networks that, in the end, are not able to supply all the gas consumers for whom it is intended to be built, due to the different design principles of “hydrogen ready” networks compared to natural gas ones.

Hydrogen and natural gas are both combustible gases, but their different properties mean that we have different ways of flowing. In the case of hydrogen, the flow of gases becomes much easier, it moves at higher speeds than natural gas.

In the Study carried out by the Intelligent Energy Association, Flow of gases in distribution systems mixed with hydrogen, it was determined that with the increase in the amount of hydrogen present in the gas mixture, the transport capacity of the pipelines increases.

The introduction of hydrogen mixed with natural gas in existing pipelines increases the transport capacity of gas systems. If the use of current gas systems helps us transport a larger volume of gas+hydrogen mixture, vice versa a pipeline designed to transport hydrogen, if it will be filled with gas, will transport less natural gas, i.e. they will no longer reach gases for all consumers.

They say they have hydrogen transport projects, but they are also developing gas pipelines

The financing conditions of the EU no longer give the financing of natural gas transmission-distribution systems as eligible, instead multiple systems for financing are open for hydrogen networks. And so companies appeared that came up with smart distribution projects (which also means hydrogen ready system), to be able to access money, but obviously to exclusively transport gas after building the network. The volume that can be transported by a pipeline designed for hydrogen requires the transportation of approximately 3 times less volume of natural gas.

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Expl. graphic: The number of houses that can no longer be supplied with energy from natural gas mixed with hydrogen according to the proportion of hydrogen in the gas mixture in a network designed as hydrogen ready that will later be used to transport gas

Gas systems are built with the aim of providing consumers with the necessary energy to carry out various activities. Thus, the main condition that must be fulfilled by a system that is converted is to have the ability to transport the necessary energy for the consumers for which they were connected to the system.

The calorific value of natural gas is 3.1 times higher than that of hydrogen, so 3.1 times more volume of hydrogen is needed to develop the same power that a unit volume of gas releases.

The masked construction activities of natural gas networks in Romania, under the guise of a “hydrogen ready” system, may determine, in the absence of appropriate regulations, the creation of networks that no longer supply all consumers with sufficient energy.

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