To achieve the climate objectives, emissionfree hydrogen will play a major role. It can be generated from renewable energies, and it is climate neutral and suitable for energy recovery. For the German government, this issue has a strategic significance. In this context, technologies involving hydrogen as an energy source are entitled to receive state subsidies. The focus of these subsidies is predominantly on research projects with fieldtest laboratories under real-world conditions
which are designed to investigate any unanswered questions related to practical aspects involved in generating, handling, transporting, storing and using hydrogen. According to Peter Altmaier, the German Minister of Economy, Germany should strive to become the number 1 worldwide for hydrogen. More than anything else, the distribution of hydrogen is a frequently discussed subject. Can the existing gas networks be used for this purpose? The current set of rules allows for an
admixture of up to 10% – not exceeding this limit ensures that all components can function fully and securely.
As a next step, there will be an increase to 20%. Gas networks for the world of tomorrow, however, should also be
suitable for carrying 100% hydrogen. What are the properties that this kind of network will need to have? The current distribution network in Germany measures almost 300,000 kms, with almost 80% consisting of plastic pipes made of PE 80 and PE 100. Against this background, egeplast as a specialist for plastic pipe systems has been a sought-after
partner for discussing and creating sustainable solutions recently. Although it has been shown that polyethylene is hydrogen-resistant, compared to methane molecules, the smaller hydrogen molecules are even more prone to being emitted through the pipe wall by way of permeation. Therefore, the focus of research projects that egeplast participates in
also rests on determining permeation [Schütz, König, Glandien, Weßing and Gollanek in gwf Gas + Energie 9/2017].