By Eurasia Network – December 2, 2020

Gazprom proposes to build the hydrogen production plant in the area where is located the arrival infrastructure of the Nord Stream and gas pipelines in northern Germany.

Hydrogen atoms can be separated from water, from hydrocarbons such as coal, petroleum and natural gas and from biomass – Photo credit : pexels.

Gazprom proposes to build in the north of Germany, near the exit of the Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines, a production plant of low-carbon hydrogen from Russian gas.

In the frame of the Russian-German Raw Materials Forum, Alexander Ishkov, Deputy Head of the department for transportation, underground storage and use of gas, Head of the energy conservation and ecology department of Gazprom, announced this proposition to his German colleagues.  

Mr. Ishkov has given details :

“Briefly about our proposals for cooperation, which we conduct extensively, but one of these options is the construction of a large methane pyrolysis plant directly at the exit point of the Nord Stream gas pipeline. Here, the carbon footprint will be 1.2-1.6 kg of CO2 per kilogram of hydrogen, that is, almost three times lower than the criterion for low-carbon hydrogen in the European Union […].”

The representative of the Russian gas giant added that the electricity generated from renewable energy sources can be used to produce hydrogen at the plant in Germany.

Mr. Ishkov also drew attention to the possibility of obtaining hydrogen using a cheaper technology, which, moreover, does not imply the construction of infrastructure for electrolysis. Thanks to this cheaper technology for hydrogen production, it would be possible to implement a project for the transportation of CO2 obtained by producing hydrogen by traditional methods from Europe to Russia.

The Head of the energy conservation and ecology department of Gazprom concluded that :

“There is one more project that, I think, has never been discussed by anyone, but I think that the Saint-Petersburg Mining University and other Russian structures could carry out such work – this is an analysis and assessment of the possibilities of reverse, or back transportation of CO2 from Germany to Russia upon receipt hydrogen by cheap traditional methods, such as methane conversion. CO2 would be delivered back to Russia through the existing infrastructure of gas pipelines for disposal or for utilization in other ways […].”

On December 1st, within the framework of the Russian-German Raw Materials Forum (RGSF), for the first time, a hydrogen conference was held entitled “ Global energy: the future, present and prospects for the development of hydrogen energy? “. At the same time, the RGSF provided an exclusive platform for bringing together leading experts from industry, science and politics from Russia and Germany, as well as for discussing the prospects for cooperation in the field of hydrogen energy.

Anatoly Chubais, Chairman of the Management Board of the state corporation Rusnano, said during a plenary session of the Russian-European Conference on Climate, held online on December 1-3, that the export of hydrogen, which can be added to natural gas transported through pipelines without negative technological effects, could become a global Russian-European project for coming decades.

How is hydrogen produced?

To produce hydrogen, it must be separated from the other elements in the molecules where it occurs. Hydrogen atoms can be separated from water, from hydrocarbons such as coal, petroleum and natural gas and from biomass. The two most common methods for producing hydrogen are steam-methane reforming and electrolysis (water splitting).

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