“integrating Renewable Natural Gas Into Existing Gas Distribution Networks” – Power-to-X is an umbrella term for a number of conversion, storage and conversion pathways that use surplus electricity from renewable energy, typically solar and wind. “X” means the type of energy in which the electricity surplus is converted. These are usually gases, liquids or heat.

Efforts to reduce carbon emissions and improve local air pollution require changes in how energy is produced and consumed. The European “Green Deal”, for example, is a set of political initiatives by the European Commission with the aim of making Europe neutral in the climate by 2050. It includes the gradual elimination of carbon, a substantial increase in the generation renewable and ambitious targets to cut. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030.

“integrating Renewable Natural Gas Into Existing Gas Distribution Networks”

Wind and solar energy represent the main pillars of these plans, but hydrogen has a complementary role. It is seen as a way to enable the large-scale integration of renewables in the energy generation network; as a means of energy distribution in sectors and regions, and as a storage buffer to increase the system’s resistance. Wind and solar require large-scale energy storage to compensate for short-term and seasonal imbalances. Because of the order of magnitude involved, this may be best converted to excess electricity using various Power-to-X concepts.

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Hydrogen can be produced in a number of ways including fossil fuels, biomass, crops, nuclear power and from renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal and hydropower. This diversity of potential supply sources is why hydrogen is seen as the ideal energy carrier. The main concept of Power-to-X that is intended uses the excessive production of renewable electricity from the wind and the sun to split water into hydrogen and oxygen in an electrolyzer. Since hydrogen is produced from purely renewable sources, this is known as green hydrogen.

In the transition phase, the reform of natural gas will be necessary. This is a carbon neutral resource if carbon capture technology is used. Hydrocarbon reform is seen as a kick-starter to provide a sufficient supply of hydrogen in the short term, allowing the creation of the necessary hydrogen infrastructure. This includes investing in gas networks. Meanwhile, existing assets and infrastructure can be used with suitable gas turbine technology to reduce the carbon footprint of power generation and oil and gas. The scalability of gas turbines from small decentralized systems to large centralized systems offers enough flexibility in terms of production capacity and local storage requirements.

Power-to-X concepts also offer the opportunity to reduce GHG emissions in heavy transport vehicles, ships and air traffic. For example, synthetic kerosene obtained with electricity from renewables is currently the only fuel that allows climate neutral flight. By connecting traditionally separate sectors of the energy system such as electricity, gas, heat and transport, they can increase energy efficiency and reduce network investment costs. This is known as sector coupling. For example, the coupling of hydrogen gas turbines with other industries (for example, chemicals and refineries) allows the use of residual heat.

There are different approaches to decarbonization depending on the primary source. CCS stands for carbon capture and storage (or sequestration). CCU stands for carbon capture and utilization.[/caption]

Solar And Wind Power Could Ignite A Hydrogen Energy Comeback

Power-to-Gas is the most promising concept since it can provide a significant amount of hydrogen or synthetic methane by using excess electricity from renewables to produce a gas fuel. Electrolysis is used to produce hydrogen, which can be used directly or converted into syngas, methane or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). The resulting gases can be used as chemical raw materials, burned to produce heat or converted into electricity using gas turbines and gas engines. In addition, gas-fired power opens the door to long-term energy storage of clean electricity for use in all other energy-consuming sectors.

Power-to-Liquids is a process that adds carbon dioxide to hydrogen to produce ammonia, methanol or kerosene. If the added carbon comes from biomass, sewage sludge or is extracted directly from the air, it is CO2 neutral. These fuels are easier to store and transport than pure hydrogen and can be used as raw material in industry. For example, 150 GWh could be stored in a 50 m x 30 m liquid ammonia tank. Underground storage could also be used, particularly salt caverns as a space-efficient long-term storage option.

Power to heat works either by resistance heating or by means of a heat pump. Large heat pumps in district heating systems with thermal energy storage are a particularly attractive option for power to heat or cold, as they offer an efficient way to use excess wind and solar energy.

A hybridization layout is developed and demonstrated as part of a PUMP-HEAT project funded by the European Commission. It is based on coupling a fast cycle (HP) heat pump with a combined cycle (CC) power plant. The project aims to enhance performance in any weather condition. This approach can be applied to new or existing plants and to an entire fleet to improve flexibility and energy efficiency. The integration of a CC, HP and cold/hot thermal storage can reduce the minimum environmental load (about 50% of the full production, operating at lower loads, can reduce the combustion temperature, reduce the conversion of CO to CO2 and potentially exceeds permitted emissions). . It can also increase power ramp rates, increase power grid resistance and improve gas turbine flexibility. Furthermore, it demonstrates that Thermal Energy Storage (TES) combined with a heat pump can be integrated into DC as equivalent to conventional electrical storage at lower cost.

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The current turbine fleet is optimized for natural gas, but can probably handle up to 5% hydrogen without modification. Fuels with a higher hydrogen content or pure hydrogen require modifications to the combustion system, more fuel flexibility and improved safety measures.

Technologies have been developed for Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) plants that can burn gas mixtures with high amounts of hydrogen. However, they usually use dilution agents such as water or nitrogen which reduce efficiency, increase complexity and add costs. Some industrial-scale gas turbines are under development that can burn gas mixtures with high hydrogen content (up to 100%) without dilution. However, they cannot offer enough fuel flexibility. This is a ripe area for turbomachinery innovation.

With little or no modification, a mixture of hydrogen and natural gas can be transported in the existing gas infrastructure. New or retrofitted pipeline infrastructure, however, would be required to transport 100% hydrogen. The combustion of hydrogen at the point of production could solve this problem during the initial phase of the transition.

Another vital area of ​​research concerns system dynamics and how best to integrate fluctuating renewables. Cooperation is needed between hydrogen producers, end users, gas turbine manufacturers and academia to demonstrate the effectiveness of the technology in a timely and cost-efficient manner. Key areas include combustion instability, how to keep NOx emissions low up to 100% hydrogen, dealing with a range of natural gas and hydrogen mixtures, and dealing with rapid changes in fuel composition. New materials and cooling technologies are also needed for hot gas path components.

Liberalization & Unbundling Of Energy Markets

Work is underway with the FLEXnCONFU project to increase the flexibility of the combined cycle power unit to run partially on hydrogen or ammonia. The aim of the EU-funded project is to develop and demonstrate economically viable and replicable Power-to-X-to-Power solutions.

All available options for the efficient and flexible use of surplus power from renewable energy will be combined to level the load of the power plant by converting the electricity into hydrogen or ammonia before converting it into power. The hydrogen co-firing concept will be demonstrated at EDP’s 1.2 GW Gestão da Produção de Energia Ribatjo power plant in Portugal. ■

Christer Björkqvist is Managing Director of ETN Global. The mission of the turbine network is to bring together the turbomachinery value chain to accelerate the research development and demonstration of safe, secure and affordable energy solutions based on carbon-free turbomachinery by 2030. Growing interest for hydrogen prompts planners to consider hydrogen reuse. existing pipelines and other infrastructure for transportation and storage. In Germany, a key region of Europe’s energy system, experts tested the parameters for the safe operation of an integrated hydrogen network.

The practical conversion of long-distance gas networks to hydrogen operation is a central building block for the reliable supply of CO₂-free energy to industrial, public and private customers. Find out everything you need to know about repurposing the gas infrastructure to transport hydrogen.

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The “EU Hydrogen Strategy for a Climate Neutral Europe” of July 2020 is just the latest in a series of programs designed to promote the use of hydrogen to decarbonize and integrate the energy system. The G20, Germany and Japan have also indicated interest in developing this technology. And more recently, a white paper jointly produced by German pipeline operators Nowega and Gascade and Siemens Energy studied practical aspects of converting natural gas pipelines as pillars of a future hydrogen-based energy transition.

In addition to decarbonized hydrogen produced from natural gas, green hydrogen produced with an electrolyzer powered by sustainable electricity can be used for sector coupling (“Power-to-X”) and for storage large-scale renewable energy.

Green hydrogen has become economically more viable due to the decrease in the costs of renewable energy and electrolyzers. Connecting all elements of the energy system with hydrogen promises to provide efficiencies, reduce carbon emissions, and increase the robustness of energy systems by ensuring security of supply. In this context, an often mentioned advantage is that the natural

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