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Portgás studies the feasibility of hydrogen injection in the natural gas distribution network, with collaboration from INEGI

25 March 2021
With the specialized support of INEGI, Portgás is studying the technical feasibility of injecting H2 into its gas distribution network. This injection of green hydrogen aims to promote the decarbonisation of the consumption of Natural Gas, but depends on the technical feasibility and compatibility with the existing distribution network.

"Hydrogen, as an energy vector, will play a decisive role in the implementation of decarbonization strategies in the various sectors of the economy. It may also allow the integration of electricity and natural gas systems (coupling sector), accelerating the decarbonization of the electrical system and making decarbonization of the natural gas network is possible”, explains Ricardo Barbosa, responsible for the project at INEGI. "The Natural Gas network is, in fact, an optimized solution for storing and regulating the seasonality of renewable electricity production. However, it is necessary, in a first phase, to assess the impact, in all network assets, derived from the gradual injection of H2 (0 to 100%)”.

In this context and in line with the national strategy for decarbonization of the various sectors of the economy, INEGI has been supporting the development of technologies for the production, storage and use of hydrogen produced based on renewable energy sources.

Participation in this project on the Portgás network thus contributes to the energy transition, which is why it has "attracted the interest of several technological partners in energy-intensive industries, as well as in the manufacture of natural gas consumption equipment", says Ricardo Barbosa.

Hydrogen will contribute to the decarbonization of the economy

The study contemplates, for the Portgás distribution network, an assessment of impact (in terms of materials, burning processes and safety and operational conditions) of the reception of hydrogen in the gas stream in the distribution networks at the different levels of pressure. It will focus on the materials of the distribution and supply networks and on components such as valves, sensors and regulation and measurement equipment, as well as on the influence on the burning processes, operating and safety conditions, and the functioning and performance of the final consumers' equipment.

INEGI's team will also investigate the risk of leakage, the burning conditions, including the speed of flame propagation, the odorization of the gas, as well as the effect on the materials of the network and its potential deterioration of the network. "All of these points are central to assessing the impact of the presence of hydrogen", stresses Ricardo Barbosa.

"Based on this information, we will be able to define requirements and standards to be met so that it is possible to receive gas from producers and operate along the distribution network, in conditions of efficiency and safety", in a coordinated manner at the national level by the Technical Management Global System for managing the production flows to be integrated in the national gas system at all times.

The project is part of the strategy of Decarbonization and Digitization of Portgás' distribution assets, based on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and commitment to the decarbonization of the sector, with the prioritization of studies in the area of ​​feasibility of gas injection Renewables in the REN Group's Gas Network, in strengthening its role as an operator without any participation in investments or interests in gas production.