High need for gas grid transformation to wean Europe off Russian supply – researchers
The European gas infrastructure would have to be changed quickly and extensively to be able to maintain supply in the event of an embargo or export ban on supplies from Russia, but researchers say the full extent of the transformation cannot be estimated, reports Tagesspiegel Background. A paper by TransHyDE, a group of research institutions including Fraunhofer ISI and KIT, says there is a lack of data to assess the situation. For example, it is unclear how reverse-flow-capable the transmission network is, i.e. how well gas could be transported from LNG import terminals on the coasts in a west-east and south-north direction instead of in the east-west direction that has prevailed for decades. “No one has a sufficiently detailed model of the entire European gas network that could be used to calculate the gas flow in the opposite direction off the cuff,” said co-author Benjamin Pfluger of Fraunhofer IEG. He also said it was difficult to tell today whether new import terminals for liquefied natural gas (LNG) could be built “hydrogen-ready”, as promised by the German government.
The war in Ukraine forces Germany and the EU to radically rethink their energy policy, given that the continent is heavily dependent on Russian fossil fuels. Germany’s government has announced it aims to build two import terminals for LNG to help diversify supply and strengthen control over imports, but said these would have to be hydrogen-ready.