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29 Jan 2021, 13:14
Julian Wettengel

Ten percent green hydrogen in German gas supply would save 6.5 mio t of CO2 - utilities

Clean Energy Wire

Germany could save 6.5 million tonnes of CO₂ emissions per year if it added ten percent green hydrogen to the natural gas mix in the country’s pipelines, said energy industry lobby BDEW. This is already technically possible, and savings would be equivalent to the emissions of about three million combustion engine cars, said BDEW. “Hydrogen is a real energy talent,” said association head Kerstin Andreae. She said the advantage of this energy carrier is that the necessary infrastructure is already in place. “The expansion and use of the valuable, existing gas grid infrastructure are the basis for the development of a hydrogen economy across sectors and national borders.”

Modernising the existing natural gas infrastructure to be able to transport increasing shares or in the end pure hydrogen would mean large investments, and is facing opposition among energy experts and NGOs. In the fight against climate change, hydrogen made with renewable electricity is increasingly seen as a silver bullet for sectors with particularly stubborn emissions, such as heavy industry and aviation. However, producing climate-friendly hydrogen through electrolysis with renewable electricity is very energy intensive and costly, and experts say it should only be used where absolutely necessary. Thus, simply adding it to the existing natural gas supply might not be the most efficient way to use a scarce resource. The gas grid operators said in May that establishing an initial grid for transporting green hydrogen could be accomplished by repurposing natural gas pipelines at a “justifiable cost”.

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