Slovak TSO Eustream prepares for hydrogen era
One of the European Union's largest transmission system operators Eustream is preparing its network for the transport of blended hydrogen and low-carbon gases, it said August 31.
By the end of 2023 it hopes that it will be "technologically ready for blending up to 5% hydrogen into the transported natural gas," it said. Given the current volume of natural gas, that means more than 2bn m³/yr of hydrogen, it said.
The Czech EP Infrastructure Group (EPIF) subsidiary's business development efforts so far have been concentrated on new routes and interconnections with neighbouring countries. This will be fulfilled once the last missing interconnection – the new Poland-Slovakia Gas Interconnection – is completed.
"In the new phase of the network development, our primary focus is to get ready for the low-carbon economy and support European climate ambitions.... We believe that this can provide a significant stimulus to promote the development of hydrogen capacities in the region,” said CEO Rastislav Nukovic.
Eustream will invest in new technologies that will meter transported hydrogen and plans to install new devices across its network, thus making the Slovak grid ready to work with hydrogen in two years.
Eustream also plans to develop its own photovoltaic plant to produce green hydrogen to fuel its compressor stations – "a unique move among TSOs. The first pilot project to decarbonise our own operations is planned for the Veľke Kapusany compressor station, with expected hydrogen production in 2023," it said.
The Slovak transmission network was the major transit route for Russian gas, taking gas from Ukraine and sending it on to Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic. As a member of the European Hydrogen Backbone initiative, Eustream plans to dedicate part of the transmission network for 100% hydrogen. The modernised corridor will allow the combined transport of natural gas and hydrogen, depending on the actual development of demand and hydrogen capacities.
EPIF, owned by businessman Daniel Kretinsky, is mulling an initial public offering of its assets, which are characterised by long-term contracts and other stable revenue streams. Gazprom has a long-term capacity contract with Eustream which will run for years after Nord Stream 2 was supposed to be operational, while less and less Russian gas flows through Ukraine.