In collaboration the 45 partner companies as well as the DVGW and VKU, we are pursuing the goal of making the climate-neutral energy carrier hydrogen available to everyone via the existing gas distribution networks.
In order to enable the use of climate-neutral gases in all sectors and thereby achieve the climate targets, it is necessary to initiate the transformation of the gas distribution networks to climate neutrality today. In this way, it will be possible to secure regional value creation in Germany in the long term.
The partner companies involved in the H2vorOrt initiative together with the DVGW and the VKU are firmly committed to their responsibility for achieving the climate targets. They are striving to intensify their efforts in order to advance the transformation process of the gas distribution networks as quickly as possible. Collectively, they have therefore also formulated an eight-point agenda for action:
As local infrastructure operators, the project partners are committed to regional value creation and seek to facilitate and strengthen this in a sustainable manner.
With immediate effect, the project partners will intensify their focus on installing H2-ready components. As soon as the corresponding certifications are available and in compliance with their planning, they intend to install only gas network components that are H2-ready. In this way, the entire gas distribution network in Germany will be continuously upgraded.
Through the DVGW, the project partners are creating the technical prerequisites for the necessary infrastructure transformation. To this end, the DVGW has already addressed key issues relating to the approval, construction, testing, commissioning, and operation of gas distribution networks and equipment in the context of hydrogen. This enables planning to proceed and the first pilot projects to be launched on the ground. At the same time, the comprehensive revision of the entire gas-specific regulatory framework is being tackled. On the one hand, future regulations should aim for a target of about 20 percent hydrogen by volume (admixture). But to ensure that a forward-looking system of technical regulations will soon be in place for the entire hydrogen process chain, the existing regulations need to be supplemented by a new set designed for 100 percent hydrogen. In order to complete this process quickly, the DVGW is providing resources to accelerate and intensify this process.
In order to provide the best possible support in terms of the technical transformation of gas grids to hydrogen and climate-neutral gases throughout Germany, it will be necessary to conduct a regional hydrogen network target plan that will record specific regional supply and demand structures.
A platform is being created for this purpose at the DVGW in order to condense the individual plans of the distribution system operators (DSOs) into a gas distribution transformation plan (GTP). It addresses the issue of H2-readiness and the technical conversions of individual network sections based on this, as well as other concepts for achieving climate neutrality. It is a structured and institutionalized process to develop a coordinated and cross-grid level plan that serves as a guide and a support for the technical implementation, and which flows as input into the network development plan (NDP).
This “GTP” builds on the previously static planning exchange between DSOs and transmission system operators (TSOs), and initiates an active dialogue between them. It leads to a holistic picture of the network for hydrogen through a bidirectional comparison of the planning (GTP and NDP). The various user groups are actively involved in this process.
The project partners are committed to planning for H2-readiness by 2025. This will be accomplished in continuous exchange with upstream and downstream network operators and key user groups, and will factor in the envisaged long-term carbon-neutral supply. The planning will be incorporated into the gas distribution transformation plan (GTP).
By 2030, the project partners intend to have implemented the first hydrogen-fueled regional pilot applications in distribution grids.
The project partners will make significant progress towards the energy transition and GHG reductions by 2040, taking the national decarbonization targets in their grid sections into account, by adapting the grid sections they operate to distribute 100 percent H2 or by submitting a detailed regional plan for defined grid sections to decarbonize them by 2045, including the use of other carbon-neutral gases. Alternatively, local decarbonization can be achieved using other energy sources as part of integrated local energy transition planning.
The project partners will secure the distribution of all climate-neutral gases in the distribution network on a permanent basis from 2045.
With a total length spanning more than 550,000 kilometers, Germany’s gas distribution networks ensure a reliable supply of energy to not only 19 million households but also to 1.8 million companies. They constitute the backbone of our energy supply system and value creation for industry.
In order for Germany to become climate-neutral and at the same time continue to have a thriving industrial base, it is imperative that the gas infrastructure be upgraded for the transport and distribution of climate-neutral gases. The partner companies in H2vorOrt are taking the lead in driving this process forward.
A successful transformation of gas distribution networks toward climate neutrality requires a clear strategy. That is why the partner companies have already commenced development of a standardized Germany-wide gas distribution transformation plan (GTP for short). This will create the technical-organizational prerequisites for aligning the gas distribution network infrastructure with climate neutrality across the board by 2040 at the latest.
H2vorOrt represents Germany in the European Ready4H2 project, which promotes a transformation of the European gas distribution networks towards hydrogen. More information about the project and the study can be found on the official project website ready4h2.eu.