In the pursuit of a greener energy landscape, a consortium consisting of Thüga, Energie Südbayern, and Energienetze Bayern is making remarkable headway in the hydrogen pilot project known as H2Direkt. This collaborative effort is propelling the transformation of an existing gas network into a hydrogen-based infrastructure, marking a significant leap towards a sustainable energy future.
The project’s latest developments underscore its commitment to realizing a hydrogen-based energy system. The preparatory groundwork for the hydrogen feed-in facility in Hohenwart is now underway. Notably, Westfalen AG is slated to provide the required hydrogen supply for this pioneering endeavor. Rigorous evaluations have been conducted to ensure the compatibility of all network components and heating systems with hydrogen, a critical step in the journey towards achieving a 100 percent hydrogen-based gas network by the upcoming autumn of 2023.
At the core of the H2Direkt pilot project lies the ambitious goal of delivering pure hydrogen to ten households and a commercial customer. This initiative, scheduled to span an initial 18-month period starting from the 2023/2024 heating season, will repurpose a former natural gas network for hydrogen distribution. The project is an integral part of the TransHyDE hydrogen lead project and enjoys financial support from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). With the requisite building permit from the Pfaffenhofen district office secured, civil engineering work commenced in Hohenwart in early July. The foundation for the hydrogen supply and feed-in system is being established on land owned by the Regens-Wagner Foundation, with the execution of this task entrusted to HRS engineering and pipeline construction.
The feed-in system’s design and execution are the result of collaborative efforts by Energienetze Bayern and keep it green GmbH. The system is devised to reduce hydrogen pressure and feed it into the relevant network segment at 250 millibars. Pfaffinger Anlagenbau & Energietechnik GmbH, a specialist in the field, has been tasked with building this critical component.
Westfalen AG emerges as a pivotal partner by supplying the essential green hydrogen. This hydrogen is transported to Hohenwart via trailers transported by trucks. Dr. Elke Wanke, renewable gases consultant at Energienetze Bayern and project manager at H2Direkt, highlights the project’s unique nature: “With H2Direkt, we aim to demonstrate that existing gas distribution networks can indeed operate with pure hydrogen. Our initiative is pioneering in Germany – a repurposed gas network in Hohenwart will supply households with 100 percent hydrogen. This step is crucial for achieving a climate-neutral heat supply and enhancing energy security.”
The DVGW-EBI research institute has granted approval for all network components installed in the distribution area, affirming their compatibility with 100 percent hydrogen. Furthermore, all components installed in the heating rooms of participating households, meticulously documented beforehand, have been deemed hydrogen-compatible. Jonas Heilhecker, responsible for H2 installations at Energienetze Bayern, emphasizes that necessary component replacements have been accounted for. Even the volumetric gas meters, although fitting for hydrogen in terms of material and measuring accuracy, are being replaced due to the larger hydrogen volume flow.
The significance of accurate measurement in hydrogen distribution cannot be overstated. The project’s research phase also encompasses the formulation of regulations for hydrogen measurement. A jointly developed measurement concept by Energienetze Bayern, Thüga, and DVGW-EBI has received approval for field testing from the Weights and Measures Office (LMG).
H2Direkt finds its place within the larger context of the TransHyDE project Secure Infrastructure, which is one of three hydrogen lead projects funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. TransHyDE’s comprehensive assessment and demonstration of various hydrogen storage and transportation solutions underscore Germany’s dedication to pioneering a sustainable and hydrogen-powered future.