Page 56 - European Energy Innovation - autumn 2017 publication
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56  Autumn 2017 European Energy Innovation


Removing technical barriers
to biomethane injection in the
natural gas grid

A GERG initiative to support the development of the biomethane industry in Europe

By Robert Judd (GERG), Mailys Pale, Helene Morin, Zacaria Reddad (Engie lab Crigen)

BIOMETHANE AND ITS                          Yet, they are only of voluntary           to follow and the definition of
INTRODUCTION INTO THE GAS                  application, and some thresholds           threshold values, the aim of the GERG
NETWORK                                    values are either missing, or were set     biomethane project is to gather
Renewably derived gases, whether           through stakeholder agreement but          robust technical information regarding
biomethane or hydrogen, have the           are not always based on real technical     the impacts of biomethane trace
potential to make an enormous              data, which has been lacking at a          components on the gas infrastructures
contribution to the long-term              European level.                            and on the end-users’ equipment to
development of a low carbon energy                                                    propose revision of the standards
system in Europe and beyond.               Therefore to ensure and secure the         using strong technical arguments.
Although volumes injected into our         future of the whole biomethane
gas networks are currently small, they     industry, we need to define threshold      The first step, completed this year, is a
are showing rapid growth in some           values which ensure gas infrastructure     literature and operational data review
European countries.                        integrity, and end-users’ equipment        to identify the gaps of knowledge. It
                                           integrity, without being unnecessarily     focuses on two aspects:
In the case of biomethane a pan            stringent and therefore imposing
European understanding of the steps        unnecessary extra costs on producers.      • Corrosion: impact of the
needed to remove any technical barriers    This will allow the gas industry and its       biomethane trace components
will greatly support the development of    vast existing infrastructure to play a         in terms of corrosion: CO, HCN,
a viable and sustainable growth industry.  major role in meeting Europe's                 H2S, NH3, HCl, HF, organo-halides,
To approach the removal of these           climate goals.                                 micro-organisms;
barriers in a consistent and effective
manner requires close cooperation          THE GERG BIOMETHANE PROJECT                • Siloxanes: impact of silica
with those developing the standards        In 2016, a GERG project was set up             compounds found in biogas
for use of biomethane.                     and launched at the initiative of several      sources both on the gas
                                           European gas grid and gas storage              infrastructure (pipes, compressors,
Discussions on biomethane quality          operators. This project was led by             valves) and on end-users (boilers,
standard definition for network            Engie Lab CRIGEN (representing the             engines).
injection have been ongoing for            French gas infrastructure operators
several years now. However, a lack of      GRTgaz, GRDF, STORENGY).  Partners         A UNIQUE SET OF DATA
scientific and tangible network data       included the Danish Gas Technology         REGARDING REAL BIOMETHANE
has held back a full understanding of      Centre, DGC (representing Danish gas       QUALITY
the real impact of biomethane trace        operators) , DNVGL UK (representing        The phase 1 of the GERG biomethane
compounds on gas infrastructure as         the four UK gas distribution               project has allowed us to collect  a
well as end-users.                         companies, National Grid/Cadent,           unique set of data regarding real
                                           SGN, NGN and Wales and the West),          biomethane quality. These data were
Two European standards on biomethane       Gasum, Gaz System, Innogy, Snam            collected by partners who need
have been published in 2016 / 2017:        Rete Gaz, and TIGF. Kiwa and DNVGL         to perform biomethane analysis
                                           Netherlands provided additional            prior to its injection into their gas
• EN16723-1: Specifications for            technical input and delivery based on      networks. As there is very little public
    biomethane for injection in the        existing Dutch industry knowledge and      documentation on trace compounds
    natural gas network;                   their known expertise in this area.        concentrations in biomethane, this set
                                                                                      of data is highly  valuable.
• EN16723-2: Automotive fuel               Since there is no precise knowledge
    specifications                         about the choice of trace components       These data are very helpful to aid

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