Gas companies in Europe and America are looking at using the existing gas network to serve industrial “clusters” of hydrogen users in sectors like chemicals, cement and steelmaking, adopting a “phased approach” endorsed by the European Commission.
Embracing the EU’s climate neutrality objective is “a real paradigm shift for the gas industry” that will entail delivering “decreasing quantities of natural gas” of fossil origin, according to Pierre Duvieusart, Deputy CEO of GRTgaz, the French gas infrastructure company.
But as the industry scales down fossil gas, it is simultaneously making way for growing quantities of renewable and decarbonised gases such as biomethane and hydrogen, he told an Euractiv event.
“These will be particularly necessary for sectors where decarbonisation will be hard to achieve – processes that require high temperature heat or steam, or in the chemical and steel industry,” Duvieusart said. “And also for heavy road mobility or rail mobility.”
“At an early stage, we see the development of renewable hydrogen in industrial clusters that would combine local supply and demand,” Duvieusart explained.
This vision resonates with the European Commission’s “phased approach,” unveiled last year in its hydrogen strategy.
In the first phase, from 2020 to 2024, the European Commission intends to install at least 6 GW of renewable hydrogen electrolysers to decarbonise existing hydrogen use