Redes Energéticas Nacionais (REN), the Portuguese energy network operator, announced on Thursday that it has embarked on the modification of its national gas transmission network (RNTG) to accommodate green hydrogen. The objective is to ultimately transport natural gas infused with a maximum of 10% hydrogen.
This initiative involves the “remodeling of chromatographs”, devices instrumental in gauging the quality of gas flowing through the network. The company has set an ambitious deadline to have all 16 chromatographs across the network adapted by the end of 2023. This would position REN to achieve the required certification, enabling them to receive and transport up to 10% of hydrogen in the RNTG.
The move signifies REN’s unwavering commitment to decarbonization and aligns with the objectives established by the Portuguese Government. REN, in conjunction with REN Armazenagem and REN Portgás, aims to create the technical infrastructure necessary to achieve these decarbonization targets.
Earlier in March, REN along with Spanish (Enagás) and French (GRTgaz and Teréga) gas transmission system operators agreed to revamp the gas network for green hydrogen transportation. They established the Green2TSO consortium to undertake pilot projects, conduct technological tests, and perform other activities to expedite the transformation of the natural gas network.
Performance monitoring of these initial modifications will rely on both conventional teletransmitted data for dispatch and through remote access. REN has enlisted the expertise of the Gas Exploration area and contributions from the Renewable Gas Planning, Engineering and Innovation, and Global Technical Management of the National Gas System departments.
The modified chromatographs have the additional advantage of significantly reducing the consumption of helium, a scarce non-renewable gas essential for scientific research and key technologies like nuclear magnetic resonances, mass spectroscopy, optical fibers, and computer chip production.
In line with EU policies, decarbonizing gas infrastructure is a central goal of Portuguese energy policy. REN’s strategy for renewable gases revolves around adapting existing infrastructures to handle these gases and developing a 100% hydrogen infrastructure.
REN is also setting its sights on a green hydrogen pipeline project with Spain, an endeavor representing an investment of over €400 million. The interconnection between Celorico da Beira and Zamora, known as Axis H2, is set to cost €204 million, with an additional €210 million required to adapt the network for hydrogen transportation. The project is slated for completion between 2024 and 2029, with operations expected to commence by the end of 2029.