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Evaluation of the Impact of Green Hydrogen Blending Scenarios in the Italian Gas Network: Optimal Design and Dynamic Simulation of Operation Strategies


Blending hydrogen (H2) produced from PEM electrolysis coupled to Renewable Energy Sources (RES) in the existing Natural Gas (NG) network is a promising option for the deep decarbonization of the gas sector. However, blending H2 with NG significantly affects the thermophysical properties of the gas mixture, changing the gas supply requirements to meet the demand. In this work, different scenarios of green hydrogen blending (Blend Ratio BR equal to 5/10/15/20%vol) are analyzed at the national level with different temporal constraints (hour/day/week/month/year) based on real gas demand data in Italy, addressing both design requirements (RES and PEM electrolyzer capacity) via Linear Programming (LP) and carrying out dynamic simulations of different operational strategies (constant or variable blend). Although H2/NG blending provides a huge opportunity in terms of deployed H2 volume, higher BRs show rapidly increasing design requirements (1.3-1.5 GWe/%vol and 2.5-3 GWe/%vol for PEM electrolyzers and RES capacity respectively) and a significative increase of the total gas mixture volume (0.83 %/%vol) which hinders the CO2 reduction potential (0.37 %/%vol). A variable blend operation strategy (allowing a variation of BR within the analyzed period) allows to balance a variable H2 production from RES. Wider temporal constraints imply several beneficial effects such as relaxing design constraints and avoiding the implementation of an external storage. The Levelized Cost Of Hydrogen (LCOH) is preliminarily estimated at around 7.3 $/kg for yearly scenarios (best-case), although shorter temporal constraints entail significant excess hydrogen which would increase the LCOH if not deployed for other applications.

Related subjects: Hydrogen Blending
Countries: Italy

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