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    Russia Eyes Place in Europe's Hydrogen Market: Press

Summary

The goal is to finalise a plan for developing hydrogen by the end of the year.

by: Joseph Murphy

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Russia Eyes Place in Europe's Hydrogen Market: Press

Russia's energy ministry has drafted a five-year plan for developing hydrogen energy, with the aim of exporting the fuel to Europe and other markets, RBC reported on July 22, citing a copy of the plan.

The European Commission published its long-awaited hydrogen strategy in early July, promoting the fuel as a means of curbing emissions alongside renewables. Russia, as Europe's current biggest energy supplier, does not want to be left behind.

Russian companies already produce hydrogen for industrial use, but this is mostly the grey variety, derived from fossil fuels and perceived as dirtier than some conventional energy fuels. The EU's strategy, on the other hand, rules out grey hydrogen and instead strongly favours green hydrogen, produced from water using electrolysis, powered by renewable energy. The energy ministry's plan to provide Europe with two other variants: turquoise and yellow.

Turquoise hydrogen is generated from gas using methane pyrolysis. This involves gas being passed through molten metal and split into hydrogen and solid carbon, a valuable by-product. Gazprom, as Russia's biggest gas producer, will take the lead here.

Yellow hydrogen, meanwhile, is produced from water using electrolysis, like the green variety, but with the process powered by nuclear rather than renewable energy. This is where state-owned Rosatom and its fleet of nuclear power plants will come in.

Gazprom has estimated before that the European hydrogen market could be worth €153bn ($178bn) by 2050. The company says it would be able to inject up to 20% hydrogen into its export pipelines without upgrading them, and up to 70% for its new projects such as Nord Stream. Exporting hydrogen to Europe would provide this infrastructure with a new lease of life, as the continent decarbonises its economies and takes a tougher stance against unabated fossil fuels.

The ministry has sent its plan to the government for approval, and the hope is that it will be finalised by the end of the year, RBC reported. Russia could then start providing support measures for pilot projects at the start of 2021.