24 March 2021

Portgás is studying the feasibility of hydrogen injection into the natural gas distribution network, with the collaboration of INEGI

With INEGI's expert support, Portgás is studying the technical feasibility of H2 injection into its gas distribution network. The goal of this injection of green hydrogen will be to promote the decarbonisation of Natural Gas consumption, but it depends on technical feasibility and on compatibility with the existing distribution network. 

'As an energy vector, hydrogen will take on a key role in the implementation of the decarbonisation strategies in the various sectors of the economy. It may also enable the integration of the electricity and natural gas systems (coupling sector), by accelerating the decarbonisation of the electricity system and enabling the decarbonisation of the natural gas network', explained Ricardo Barbosa, head of the project at INEGI. 'The Natural Gas network is an optimised solution for storing and regulating the seasonality of renewable electricity generation. However, as a first step, it is necessary to assess the impact stemming from the gradual injection of H2 (0 to 100%) on all of the network's assets'. 

In this context and in line with the national decarbonisation strategy of the various sectors of the economy, INEGI has been supporting the development of technologies for the generation, storage and use of hydrogen generated from renewable energy sources

Participation in this project on the Portgás network thus contributes to energy transition, which is why it has been 'attracting the interest of multiple technological partners from energy intensive industries, as well as from the manufacturing of natural gas consumption equipment', Ricardo Barbosa further said. 

Hydrogen will contribute to the decarbonisation of the economy 

For the Portgás distribution network, the study includes the assessment of the impact (with regard to materials, burning processes and safety and operational conditions) of receiving hydrogen in the gas stream in the distribution networks at the various levels of pressure. It will focus on the materials of the distribution and supply networks and on components, such as valves, sensors, regulation and measurement equipment, as well as on the influence on the burning processes, operating and safety conditions, and operation and performance of end-user equipment. 

INEGI's team will also assess the risk of leaks, the burning conditions, including the flame spread speed, the odour of the gas and the effect on the network's materials and its potential deterioration. 'All these issues are crucial to assessing the impact of the presence of hydrogen', stressed INEGI´s project leader highlighting how is it so. 'From this information, we will be able to set requirements and standards to be met so that it is possible to receive the gas from the producers and operate throughout the distribution network, under conditions of efficiency and safety' in a nationally coordinated manner by the Global Technical System Management for management of the generation flows to be integrated into the Portuguese national gas system at every moment. 

The project is part of the strategy for Decarbonisation and Digitisation of Portgás's distribution assets, based on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and on a commitment to following the sector's decarbonisation, with the prioritisation of studies to make the injection of renewable gases in REN Group's Gas Network feasible, reinforcing its role as an operator without any kind of participation in gas generation investments or interests.


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