The gas network of Ireland features a staggering 14000 km of pipeline spread across the country which is connected to the wider markets, in the UK and Europe, via Scotland.
There are projects starting to develop based on the premise that interjecting hydrogen into this grid could be an excellent opportunity to use existing infrastructure to help the distribution of clean gas.
A similar study, The H21 Leeds City Gate concept, has shown promise in this area as it aims to convert all natural gas in Leeds, England, to 100% hydrogen, by use of four Steam Methane reformers – see hydrogen production – and the use of local salt caverns to store the hydrogen both on an intraday and inter-seasonal basis.
There are no current plans for a project like this in Ireland but the necessary authorities are aware of the possibilities and are keeping abreast of the project.
From an electrolysis perspective we can look at the other side of the North Sea – in the Netherlands. Here hydrogen, via large scale electrolysis, is being viewed as the key to bringing ashore vast amounts of wind energy. Electricity and gas transmission system operators (TSOs) are working together on a long term vision of how hydrogen can be used to connect the infrastructures.