A German project to increase the use of clean energy for home heating is on track to heat certain homes in the southwest of the nation with 30% “green” energy blended with natural gas in the coming weeks, according to the project’s sponsor.
The project by Netze BW, which will distribute the blended gases to homes and a test site in the southwestern town of Oehringen, is the first of its kind in Germany. The company believes that it will serve as a model for the rest of the nation.
Germany is attempting to manufacture “green” hydrogen that is extracted using wind and solar electricity via electrolysis as part of attempts to move away from fossil fuels and cut carbon emissions. On existing and a few new gas systems, it intends to store the gas or provide it to users.
The largest economy in Europe wants to eventually replace natural gas, notably that coming from Russia, and build a new value chain for green hydrogen that will use both imported and domestically produced green hydrogen.
Since the fall of 2022, the “hydrogen island” in Oehringen, a village near Heilbronn with detached single-family dwellings, has been receiving a combination of natural gas and progressively more hydrogen from its pipeline operator Netze BW, an EnBW subsidiary.
The blends were completed before the dwellings at Netze’s nearby regional offices in Oehringen, which 30% mixed already last summer.
Project leader Heike Gruener told Reuters during a visit that “over the next two weeks, we will grow the proportion from 8% to 20%, and two weeks further on, we will get to 30% in the families.”
On the Netze BW location, blending takes place using purchased renewable energy that has been processed through an electrolysis unit.
The company aimed to demonstrate how boilers, radiators, and hobs could all adapt to the mix without requiring extensive replacements or modifications. It stated that its goal was to show that it was feasible to use Germany’s massive gas infrastructure to supply households and businesses.
“Of course, we want to demonstrate that 100% hydrogen can also function. However, that won’t happen until about the middle of this decade “Gruener threw in.
She continued, “Germany can benefit from experiences with town gas, produced by burning coal and having up to 50% hydrogen.”
According to the test subject and retired man Andreas Frasch, “there is no discernible difference to 100% gas.”