Nortegas has launched the H2SAREA project to address energy challenges regarding the efficient use of hydrogen.

The injection of this renewable gas into the existing natural gas distribution networks will not only allow infrastructures totaling over 8,000 km in the case of Nortegas to be used, but it will also help to consolidate the role of hydrogen as a lever to decarbonize the economy, for the residential, industrial and mobility markets. It will thus cover the demand of sectors that cannot be electrified given the nature of their activity.

The project consists of researching new technological solutions, equipment and components, which will allow the natural gas networks to be transformed to distribute hydrogen in different blending scenarios: hydrogen injection systems, advanced compression systems, development of specific smart fixers for hydrogen, research into new materials and components suitable to be used in both 100% hydrogen environments and in variable natural-gas-hydrogen mixes, modular hydrogen separation systems, sensors, burners, etc.

The aim is to establish and obtain the necessary technological solutions for the possible progressive transformation of the distribution network and uses with incremental hydrogen mixes in the natural gas network, until 100% hydrogen is achieved.

The project, led by Nortegas, is being conducted by a consortium, whose members include leading companies from Basque industry: ABC Compresores, C.A.E. – FIDEGAS, H2Site, Erreka Fastening Solutions and Orkli. It is also working with two of the main technology centres of the Basque Science, Technology and Innovation Network: Tecnalia and Ikerlan; and of the National Hydrogen Centre, a benchmark in this field nationally.

The H2SAREA project will last three years. The initial research and development will be carried out at the Tecnalia and Ikerlan technology centres. This will include the H2Loop research platform, which will allow the new developments to be tested, along with the behaviour of materials and components in contact with hydrogen and natural gas-hydrogen mixes. In a first phase, the analysis of the hydrogen injection will be up to 20% and the percentages will then be gradually increased in a second phase up to 100% hydrogen.

This industrial research project is essential as a prior step to enable the future transformation of the network into a hydrogen economy, in order to have the same levels of safety and full operability as at present. The H2SAREA conclusions will be key when defining the different legislative and regulatory strategies together with institutions, regulators and other companies of the energy sector.

This project is part of the Basque Hydrogen Corridor, where Nortegas is working on additional initiatives, all of which are linked to promoting the hydrogen economy and harnessing the current infrastructures.

Arnes Biogradlija

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