Nortegas launches H2SAREA, the first national demonstration project to inject green hydrogen into the existing natural gas network
- The H2SAREA project, unique in Spain, promotes the safe injection of green hydrogen into natural gas distribution infrastructures with increasing percentages of hydrogen and natural gas blends.
- TECNALIA is participating in the project, as well as its spin-off, H2SITE, which will use one of its teams to regulate a gas blend of hydrogen and methane.
- The opening ceremony was presided over by the President of Nortegas, Inaki Alzaga and its CEO, Javier Contreras, as well as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Basque Hydrogen Corridor, José Ignacio Zudaire. It was attended by the Basque President, Iñigo Urkullu; the Regional Minister for Economic Development, Sustainability and Environment, Arantxa Tapia; the Deputy General for Bizkaia, Unai Rementeria; the Mayor of Zamudio, Igotz Lopez Torre; the Mayoress of Derio, Esther Apraiz, and members of Basque industry.
Nortegas, the second natural gas distributor in Spain, has launched the H2SAREA project today, which analyses the limits of the infrastructures and equipment that currently use natural gas in both domestic and industrial installations, once it has been blended with hydrogen in increasing percentages. This project also develops new technological solutions that will enable them to be adapted to the energy needs of the future hydrogen economy. Therefore, Nortegas is positioned as a driver in the field of green hydrogen distribution, addressing one of the most relevant technological challenges of today’s energy scenario.
The opening ceremony was presided over by the President of Nortegas, Inaki Alzaga, and its CEO, Javier Contreras, as well as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Basque Hydrogen Corridor, José Ignacio Zudaire. It was attended by the Basque President, Iñigo Urkullu; the Regional Minister for Economic Development, Sustainability and Environment, Arantxa Tapia; the Deputy General for Bizkaia, Unai Rementeria; the Mayor of Zamudio, Igotz Lopez Torre; the Mayoress of Derio, Esther Apraiz, and leading members of Basque industry.
The presentation of H2SAREA represents the consolidation of an innovative and indispensable project as a preliminary step towards enabling the future use and transformation of the existing natural gas network, as part of the most efficient solution in the development of the hydrogen economy.
The results of this project will serve to put forward the next steps and specific proposals, based on real experiences, to the various regulatory agents, so as to bring about the implementation of this transformation.
Inaki Alzaga, President of Nortegas, pointed out that: “H2SAREA is part of the energy transformation in which we are immersed. Through this project, Nortegas researches and develops new technological solutions that will enable us to adapt our infrastructures to the energy needs of the immediate future, that is, green hydrogen. Nortegas is strongly committed. As an integrated infrastructure operations group, our responsibility is to transform in favour of society, fostering change for the whole of Spain. The challenge is ambitious, but we must face it jointly and collaboratively, allowing development and co-investment in projects that can mark a before and after on the path towards a clean and sustainable energy model, which also generates employment and welfare for society”.
José Ignacio Zudaire, President of the Basque Hydrogen Corridor, said: “We are immersed in an energy transition process, and recent events, namely the Russian invasion of Ukraine, far from slowing it down, have only accelerated it. As Europeans, we maintain the central objective of decarbonisation, as a basic vector for the fight against climate change, but linked to another pillar that has perhaps been underdeveloped in recent times —security of supply. In this context, the commitment to renewable hydrogen is in full force. From the outset, the Basque Country has had a differential strategy that was based on the creation of an ecosystem around the hydrogen economy to promote its development, the Basque Hydrogen Corridor. It is a strategy to transform a challenge, decarbonisation, into an opportunity for the industrial technological development of our region. Projects such as that being presented today are a clear example of this strategy, in which technology is being developed to address the needs of hydrogen transport through a collaborative project, led, in this case, by Nortegas”.
The Basque President, Iñigo Urkullu, indicated: “H2SAREA is a project that addresses one of today’s leading challenges: to develop solutions so that renewable energies can produce a large quantity of hydrogen and for its use in different applications. The creation of a hydrogen ecosystem, based in the Basque Country, makes it possible to move forward in the decarbonisation of the energy, industry, services and mobility sectors. It addresses a pressing need and opens doors to new technological and industrial opportunities. It will involve investment of more than €1.3 billion until 2026 and it is set to generate more than 1,340 direct jobs and 6,700 indirect jobs. We welcome this innovative project”.
The Basque President also pointed out: “This is a strategic and forward-looking bid, with a comprehensive vision to improve distribution, increase efficiency and move towards a zero-carbon economy, with the use of renewable gases, such as biogas and green hydrogen, in the H2SAREA Project. We are committed to projects like the Hydrogen Corridor to reverse climate change. Collaboration is one of the keys to this future project. Therefore, the Basque Country recently joined the Ebro Hydrogen Corridor, along with the Foral Community of Navarra, Aragon and Catalonia. Likewise, our strategic location in the Atlantic Arc, and the connection with France, could open the door to seeking synergies with New Aquitaine and Occitania. If all Territories or Communities join forces in the same direction, major achievements will be made.”
This project, which is part of the Basque Government’s HAZITEK programme, led by Nortegas, is part of a consortium in which leading companies from the Basque industrial fabric collaborate, such as ABC Compresores, C.A.E., S.L., FIDEGAS, H2Site, Erreka Fastening Solutions and Orkli. It also has the collaboration of two of the leading Technology Centres in the Basque Science, Technology and Innovation Network: TECNALIA and Ikerlan; and the Spanish National Hydrogen Centre, a nationwide reference in this field.
TECNALIA has been carrying out important research and development work in the field of hydrogen and fuel cells, which place it as a national reference in this field, particularly in relation to materials and their compatibility with hydrogen and new hydrogen separation/production solutions.
In recent years, TECNALIA has been actively involved in the leading associations in the field of hydrogen at both a national and international level; it is currently a member of the executive committees of Hydrogen Europe Research, HYSAFE and the Spanish Hydrogen Association. It is also a member of the EERA – JP Fuel Cells and Hydrogen, the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance (ECHA) and the Spanish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Platform (PTE-HPC).
In the Basque Country, it has been a member of the Hydrogen Technologies Working Group ever since it was set up and has also defined the Hydrogen Technology Roadmap in conjunction with other Basque agents. It is also a member of the Hydrogen Sectoral Forum.
It currently coordinates the preparation of the Sectoral Agenda for the Hydrogen Industry in Spain in conjunction with the National Centre for Hydrogen and Ariema. The Sectoral Agenda is led by the Spanish Hydrogen Association.