H2SAREA addresses one of the most important challenges today, which is to develop solutions for renewable energies to produce a large amount of hydrogen to be used in different applications.  Therefore, the “converted” existing natural gas distribution infrastructure could distribute hydrogen between the production points and final consumers.
In this regard, injecting hydrogen into the natural gas network could significantly contribute to the coupling of the natural gas-electricity sector and consolidate the role of hydrogen as a means of decarbonising the uses of natural gas.
In this vein, the H2SAREA project is going to focus on developing advanced technological solutions for the safe distribution of hydrogen in the natural gas network. More specifically, it is going to concentrate on:

  • Developing technological solutions in key materials, components and systems to convert the distribution infrastructures:  researching the response of valves, pipes, meters, and metering and regulation stations (M&R) (key elements of the distribution network), when exposed to H2+NG under different operating conditions, and developing: Smart fasteners, H2 compressors, H2/CH4 separation system, H2/CH4 sensors, burners for industrial and residential boilers and appliances, which are compatible (joint solution) for the possible conversion into a safe H2 distribution network.
  • Analysing the capacity of the distribution network.
  • Designing and constructing a research platform (H2Loop) to study materials, components and systems of the distribution network in contact with hydrogen and natural gas-hydrogen mixes.
  • Better knowledge of the behaviour/response of infrastructures in contact with H2 and its mixes with NG under different operating conditions (gas mix concentration, pressures, etc.) in order to be able to act in that regard.
  • Conducting a blending pilot project, designing the injection positions and a 100% H2 residential gasification pilot project.
  • Establishing and making available the necessary technological solutions to convert the H2+NG distribution network in the BAC.

The initiative is part of the BH2C (Basque Hydrogen Corridor) project

Length of the Project: 34 months.
Start Date: March 2021
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Noticia 2

Noticia 1

Phases of the project

The technical activities of the H2SAREA projects have been organised into Phases and Tasks, aimed at achieving the goals and the technological challenges of the project to develop advanced technological solutions for the safe distribution of hydrogen in the H2SAREA network.

The project seeks to develop new products/prototypes: Fasteners, Compressors, H2/CH4 separation system, CERAMAT burners to combust H2-NG mix and 100% H2 fuel in condensation boilers, and sensors for H2 monitoring and its mixes with NG. Furthermore, the project’s structure considers cross-cutting measures involving all the partners, including i) Requirements, specifications, barriers and recommendations, and ii) Materials and research in Loop Research Platform real environment.

The implementation of the project has been structured in 8 phases using this methodology. One phase related to the dissemination of the project and participation in European networks and initiatives (Hydrogen Europe, EERA JP Fuel Cells and Hydrogen, Spanish Hydrogen Association, Basque H2 Technology Working Group), another to the project coordination and management, and a further 6 technical phases:


Requirements, specifications, barriers and recommendations [ABC]. There will be 3 main activities:

  • Defining the requirements and specifications of the technological solutions to distribute H2 and its mixes with NG in the network.
  • Conducting a study into the barriers and innovations needed to ensure the existing NG distribution network is compatible with the use of H2 gas and its mixes with NG.
  • Preparing a recommendations document for H2 to be adopted in the gas networks based on identifying safety and technical aspects.


Analysing the capacity of the distribution network [NORTEGAS]:

The capacity of the complete network will be analysed in detail within the defined area and in the different contexts: i) Different hydrogen and natural gas blending percentages (up to 20% hydrogen blending) and ii) Studying the network under the hypothesis of 100% operating with hydrogen.


Researching materials for the H2, H2+NG distribution network [NORTEGAS]:

The response of the current materials in the NG network when exposed to H2 and its mixes with NG in gas distribution systems will be studied. In particular, the aim will be to research the phenomena of H2 embrittlement and cracking and hydrogen permeability. Furthermore, this phase will also involve assessing current testing methodology, the selection/design of tests to be conducted, and the selection, procurement and characterisation of materials for the new H2 and its mixes with NG distribution network.


Research and development of components and systems for the H2, H2+NG distribution network [ABC]:

The research and development of the main elements of the new H2, H2+NG network will involve:

  • Researching systems to inject H2 in the network that allow an adequate NG mix with natural gas and avoid high H2 concentrations in certain locations that can lead to deterioration due to H2 embrittlement or permeation in materials [NORTEGAS].
  • Researching and developing smart fasteners to be used in gas pipeline facilities, specifically for the H2+NG distribution network [ERREKA].
  • Researching and developing a NG+HS mix compressor [ABC].
  • Developing a HS/CH4 separation system prototype that allows the mix ratio to be adjusted as per the required specifications [H2SITE].
  • Developing a CERAMAT burner for NG-H2 and 100% H2 combustion in condensation boilers [ORKLI].
  • Researching and developing new sensors for measuring/monitoring gas mixes as a key part of the safety systems required in the network to distribute H2 and its mixes with NG [CAE SL].


Researching in representative environment: Research platform (Hydrogen Loop) [NORTEGAS]:

It will address three main activities: i) Designing and constructing a platform (Hydrogen Loop, H2Loop) to research/assess materials, components and systems, which simulates the future network to distribute hydrogen and its mixes with natural gas, ii) Designing testing protocols to be conducted on the research platform (H2Loop), and iii) Running an experimental campaign in the H2Loop.


Blending pilot project, designing the injection positions and a 100% H2 residential gasification pilot project [NORTEGAS]


Exploitation and dissemination:

The results obtained in the project will be disseminated and exploited. [NORTEGAS, Energy Cluster]


Project Coordination and Management [NORTEGAS]

The outline of the structure of the H2SAREA project, organised in Phases and Tasks, is as follows: