Most EU gas transportation networks not yet ready to transport hydrogen

10/07/2020

​​For the European Union (EU) to be climate neutral by 2050, gas networks will have to be gradually adapted to carry green gases such as biomethane and hydrogen. 23 national regulatory authorities (NRAs) have looked into the current possibilities for admixing hydrogen and injecting biomethane or transporting pure hydrogen via existing gas networks, as well as network adaptations to allow this in the future and reported via a survey to the EU Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER).

The results show that 65% of the responding NRAs reported that the transmission system operators (TSOs) do not accept the injection or allow hydrogen volumes into the gas transmission network yet. 

The report ​on this fact-finding survey is published today, following the unveiling of the EU Hydrogen Strategy by the European Commission earlier this week.  The survey also included questions on national strategies on hydrogen, technical and regulatory aspects, specific projects and investments needed. 

Main findings:

  • The readiness of gas transmission networks to accept hydrogen or biomethane is very diverse across the EU.
  • In most cases, developments are at an early stage, driven mainly by pilot projects. 
  • Most national regulators would support an EU-wide approach for setting hydrogen admixing limits, in pursuit of cross-border gas trading and market integration. 
  • Pure hydrogen networks could be built in parallel with the blending of hydrogen in the existing networks, depending on the specific market and network situation. 
  • Gas quality standards may need to be revised at EU level to ensure interoperability between Member States.
  • Regardless of the actual choice of a hydrogen concentration limit, some network adaptations and selected investments will be needed. These investments will deserve greater attention in gas network development plans.
  • ​It seems that blending of hydrogen would not initially require major changes in the current market design and legislation.

ACER and national regulators will continue working together in exploring and applying regulatory options for this to happen in the most efficient way and to the benefit of all energy consumers. 

Access the Report.