GIE calls for better EU policies for hydrogen blending
Blending hydrogen into the gas grid will be key for fulfilling the goals of the EU's hydrogen strategy, but policy improvements are needed to spur investment, Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE) wrote in a position paper published on November 24.
GIE, which represents around 70 gas infrastructure operators from 27 countries, said legislation should establish an explicit regulatory framework for blending hydrogen into the gas network, and investments by infrastructure operators in this area should be adequately remunerated. Interoperability should be guaranteed at interconnection points, and local and specific solutions should be allowed to cater for regional specificities, while maintaining the integrity of the internal market.
Research and development and advanced gas quality handling tools should also be further developed to assess new technical possibilities for blending, the organisation said.
"Gas infrastructure operators stand ready to integrate hydrogen blends into their systems as quick as necessary where this option is chosen," Francisco de la Flor, the sponsor of GIE System Operation & Development Area, explained. "They have the technical expertise to guarantee the unhindered gas flow across borders, while also considering regional specificities. Exploiting the benefits of hydrogen blending is a great opportunity we should not miss to accelerate the decarbonisation of our energy system."
A key advantage of blending hydrogen is that it is quick and affordable compared with the development of dedicated hydrogen infrastructure, the GIE explains. This means it can deliver emission reductions faster, and it also provides all gas consumers with an option to decarbonise.
European policy is largely focused on green hydrogen development, arguing that its production results in fewer emissions, even though blue hydrogen has a cost advantage over it. the European Commission's strategy views blue hydrogen as a shorter-term option to decarbonise industry quickly and establish a market ready for when green hydrogen costs have sufficiently fallen. But recent research has found that the climate footprint of blue hydrogen can be as small as green hydrogen, in the right conditions.