Norway’s DNV has been chosen by South Korea’s state-owned natural gas importer and transporter Korea Gas Corporation (Kogas) to assess the viability of blending hydrogen into the nation’s gas transmission network.

Kogas is the world’s largest importer of liquefied natural gas and transports regasified volumes across the country through its high-pressure gas pipeline network.

Independent energy consultancy and assurance provider DNV’s two-year project will assess the scope for blending hydrogen with natural gas in Kogas’ 5000-kilometre-long domestic transmission network.

Specifically, DNV will assess the pipeline network’s suitability for hydrogen blending, provide technical and advisory support to a Kogas’ test project on Jeju Island and provide support to the South Korean player to address the regulatory requirements in overseeing hydrogen’s integration and uptake.

The work plan includes assessing and demonstrating the viability and impact of blending hydrogen with natural gas at various ratios in Kogas’ pipeline network; advising on the options, construction and operation of hydrogen injection facilities and equipment; reviewing methods for controlling the concentration of hydrogen blending for customers; and providing on-site technical support and data analysis for the hydrogen demonstration project.

DNV said it would apply the knowledge it has gained from related international projects to support Kogas.

Decarbonised energy future

“DNV’s global technical expertise across the entire hydrogen value chain, from production to end use, means we are uniquely placed to support the world’s largest LNG importer Kogas in creating value from hydrogen while also helping South Korea transition to a decarbonised energy future,” said Lim Dong Ho, South Korea market area manager, energy systems at DNV.

Using imported LNG, natural gas today accounts for about 26% of South Korea’s power generation capacity, a share expected to grow to 31% by 2050 as coal and nuclear plants are phased out in accordance with the nation’s 2050 Carbon Neutral Strategy and 9th Electricity Plan.

Hydrogen Roadmap

In 2019, South Korea adopted the Hydrogen Economy Roadmap and two years later established the Hydrogen Economy Commission to oversee development of a fully-fledged hydrogen economy to decarbonise transport, power generation and industry, while also driving economic growth and global industrial competitiveness.

South Korea has the third-largest public investment in hydrogen after Germany and Japan.

Up to 2040, Kogas is planning to invest $37 billion internationally to establish renewable power generation facilities that produce hydrogen which will be imported, stored and transported through a specialised hydrogen pipeline network, DNV noted.

“South Korea sees hydrogen as a potential driver of job creation and economic growth worth 43 trillion won [$43 billion],” DNV said.

“It is targeting hydrogen use to grow from 5.26 million tonnes per annum at present to over 130,000 million tpa by 2040, helping to develop large-scale stationary fuel cell power generation facilities and fuel cell electric vehicles.”

The Norwegian company is working globally with an increasing number of gas pipeline companies to safely repurpose gas transmission and distribution networks for the integration of blended and 100% hydrogen gas.

In tandem, DNV’s Spadeadam research centre in the UK is conducting full-scale testing on the safe transport of hydrogen in gas networks to appliances in homes.

“Our global hydrogen network of multidisciplinary experts, which has grown in Asia with key recruitments in 2022, has already been involved in numerous hydrogen initiatives across the energy and maritime industries, and we are in a unique position to cover the whole hydrogen value chain and maintain relations with all its key stakeholders,” added Brice Le Gallo, regional director APAC, energy systems at DNV.

The company’s 2022 Energy Transition Outlook forecasts that hydrogen production for energy purposes will meet 9% of Asia-Pacific energy demand by 2050.

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