Amber Grid, Lithuanian gas transmission system operator, Energijos Skirstymo Operatorius (ESO) and SG dujos Auto, the SG dujos group company, have signed a cooperation agreement on the development of hydrogen production Power-to-gas (P2G) technology. During the project, a plant producing green hydrogen will be connected to the Lithuanian gas system for the first time.

"Hydrogen transportation through natural gas networks is an important, long-awaited step that provides new opportunities to use the existing gas transmission infrastructure to transport hydrogen as well. Seven years ago, we were the first in Lithuania to invest in research to lean about using green hydrogen as a fuel additive in natural gas vehicle engines. The use of hydrogen in Lithuanian transport then seemed like science fiction, but for several years now the bus fleets of three Lithuanian cities have been using hydrogen and natural gas filling modules we had developed, and international car manufacture companies actively show interest in using this technology for transport. Until now, we have been producing green hydrogen locally for Lithuanian transport, so with the possibility of transmitting it through gas pipeline networks, we could have completely different opportunities to contribute to the development of future energy economics in Lithuania and to the faster transformation of the Lithuanian transport sector in order to follow the green course set by the EU. We believe that this is just the beginning, and in a few years similar solutions will seem self-evident and inseparable elements of the energy sector,” says Vidas Korsakas, Director of SG Dujos Auto.

It is planned that the pilot project will be implemented and the production of green hydrogen gas using P2G technology in Lithuania will start in 2024. This research and experimental development (R&D) project will aim to identify how to adapt the existing gas system to the transport of green hydrogen. During the project, hydrogen production electrolysis facilities will be connected to renewable electricity production facilities and gas transmission and distribution system. Hydrogen gas produced by electrolysis in a P2G unit will be mixed with natural gas in various proportions and transported to consumers.

“Energy economics transformation through the introduction of clean energy technologies is a strategic goal of Lithuania, implementing national and European commitments related to the decarbonisation of various sectors. We aim to create a basis for the development of hydrogen energy economics in the coming years, therefore the hydrogen production project initiated by state enterprises and businesses is an important step towards a breakthrough in creating a suitable economic environment for the development of green Lithuania,” says Dainius Kreivys, Minister of Energy.

In Europe, hydrogen technology is cited as one of the most realistic alternatives to fossil fuels, achieving climate change mitigation goals. To this end, the European Commission adopted Green Deal and Hydrogen Strategy documents last year. “After receiving the first application to connect the hydrogen production facility to the gas transmission system, we are entering a completely new stage of energy economics. Although hydrogen is still a novelty in energy economics, we already know that, once prepared properly, we will be able to transport it using the existing well-developed Lithuanian gas transmission system. We are currently conducting infrastructure studies to determine the proportions of how much green hydrogen we can safely and reliably introduce into the network and in what proportions it can be mixed with conventional gas. This is a very promising project, we therefore encourage other market participants to take the initiative and actively participate in hydrogen development projects,” says Nemunas Biknius, CEO of Amber Grid.

The agreement states that SG Dujos Auto will acquire and install a Power-to-gas hydrogen production facility in the south-eastern part of Lithuania. The Amber Grid gas transmission system will be equipped with the equipment mixing hydrogen with natural gas, a green hydrogen injection unit and monitoring equipment. According to international experts, the share of green hydrogen in the gas mixture could be up to 10%. ESO will be involved in the assessment of the impact of such a gas mixture on the gas distribution system and consumers.

“Green hydrogen will become an integral part of energy economics in the future and we need to prepare for it today. Once green hydrogen is injected in the gas network, a reliable and secure supply of the mixture of such gases through the transmission and distribution networks to the final customer must be ensured. By participating in this project, we will gain a lot of useful experience in working with a new generation of gas mixtures and will directly contribute to the decarbonisation of the energy sector,” says Mindaugas Keizeris, CEO of ESO. Gradual decarbonisation is being pursued in all Ignitis Group activities. Power-to-gas production of green hydrogen is the conversion of electricity into gas. By passing an electric current through water in a P2G unit, the water molecules decompose into oxygen and hydrogen gas. Hydrogen gas injected into the pipeline network mixes with natural gas and such gas mixture is supplied to consumers.

Transporting hydrogen through the gas network will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help avoiding methane leakage and higher CO2 emissions. Mixing green hydrogen with natural gas is cost-effective in decarbonising the gas sector. It is planned that the gas system will be adapted for the transportation of pure hydrogen or a mixture of methane and hydrogen by 2030. Lithuania intends to focus more on research and implementation of demonstration projects for green hydrogen production, transportation and related activities in order to prepare for the transition to the use of hydrogen technologies.

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