A consortium of 8 companies (AMES, Estamp, Enagás, Exolum, H2Greem, H2Site, Nano4Energy and Rovalma) and 6 research centres (CEIT, Centro Nacional de Hidrógeno-CNH2, CSIC, ITECAM, Tekniker and the University of Rovira i VirgiliURV) have joined forces in the GreenH2Pipes project, to advance the research and technological development necessary to promote the production of hydrogen, its transport through the gas grid and its storage using liquid organic carriers.
This project, coordinated by Enagás and co-funded by CDTI, will help facilitate the decarbonisation of the energy system. It comprises three independent work lines covering the entire hydrogen value chain: from hydrogen production to subsequent injection, transport and storage.
Lines of research
The first line of work involves developing new methods and materials for manufacturing a new generation of PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) electrolysers, which will significantly reduce manufacturing costs while enhancing durability and efficiency. The companies and research centres in charge of this phase of the project will be Estamp, H2Greem, Nano4Energy and Rovalma, together with CEIT, CNH2, CSIC, ITECAM and Tekniker.
A second line of research aims to remove barriers to hydrogen injection into the gas system. It includes the design of a hydrogen injection system, the construction of a test loop (HyLoop) at the Enagás Metrology and Innovation Centre in Zaragoza, which, together with various material characterisation tests, will enable insights to be gained about the suitability of gas networks for hydrogen transport.
In addition, methods to ensure the quality of the injected hydrogen and technologies to separate hydrogen from natural gas will be validated. Furthermore, artificial intelligence will be developed to enable the operation of power-to-gas plants (facilities that convert electricity to hydrogen) and facilitate the integration of electricity and gas grids. This phase of the project will be co-led by Enagás Transporte and H2Site as well as CNH2, Tekniker, and Rovira i Virgili University.
The third and final area of work on GreenH2Pipes, which will be promoted by Exolum and CNH2, is the development of new materials for the production of catalysts which aid in the storage of liquid hydrogen through its combination with LOHC (Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers).
Although it is the most abundant element in the universe, hydrogen is rarely found in its molecular form in nature. Rather, it is found in combination with other elements, which is why it needs to be produced artificially for industrial purposes. It is an energy vector that does not produce greenhouse gases and favours the decarbonisation of many sectors that are difficult to electrify.
For hydrogen to be green it needs to be produced from 100% renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind power, which will be used to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen.
Decarbonisation through innovation
Public funding for the project has been received through the Science and Innovation Missions 2021 programme of the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI) in December 2021.
By supporting the decarbonisation strategies of the companies and research centres involved, this project aligns with the technological goals of the European Hydrogen Strategy.
There are eight companies in the consortium as well as six research centres: CEIT, National Hydrogen Centre-CNH2, CSIC, ITECAM, Tekniker and Rovira i Virgili-URV University.