Green hydrogen pilot project launched at Chiren gas storage facility in Bulgaria

green hydrogen pilot project Chiren gas storage facility Bulgaria

Photo: Freepik


September 21, 2023






September 21, 2023





Bulgartransgaz has joined forces with domestic and Italian and American partners in a pilot project for the production and use of green hydrogen at Bulgaria’s only underground gas storage facility, Chiren.

Folowing the launch of a call for a non-binding market demand assessment survey for hydrogen, Bulgaria’s gas transmission and storage system operator Bulgartransgaz embarked on a green hydrogen pilot project.

It signed a memorandum of understanding with Bulgarian construction firm Glavbolgarstroy Holding, gas turbine manufacturer Solar Turbines and industrial conglomerate Honeywell, both based in the United States, and gas technology firm Pietro Fiorentini, headquartered in Arcugnano near Vicenza in Italy.

Bulgartransgaz said it would work with its new partners on the production and use of green hydrogen for technological needs of the country’s only underground gas storage facility, Chiren. It is located in the country’s northwest. A study will be produced to analyze possible technological solutions, mixing ratios and other characteristics, according to the deal.

Gas transmission companies at forefront of hydrogen economy

The green hydrogen in Chiren is intended to be used for technological needs as fuel on the site and is not planned to be supplied to third parties, Bulgartransgaz explained.

Hydrogen is a pillar of the future of the economy and zero-emission energy, according to the company’s Executive Director Vladimir Malinov. “The experience of gas transmission networks’ operators will guarantee the security of the infrastructure, which will also be used for hydrogen transmission,” he added.

The document was signed at the New Energy Landscape in South East Europe Conference, held in Washington DC. Among its advanced projects, Bulgartransgaz highlighted the expansion of Chiren’s capacity, the construction of the interconnection with Serbia and the participation in the LNG terminal under construction in Alexandroupolis in Greece.

Green hydrogen pipeline interconnection project underway with Greece

The company stressed that it intends to improve gas infrastructure and expand the capacities at the interconnection points Kulata-Sidirokastro (with Greece) and Kardam – Negru Voda (with Romania)

Bulgartransgaz plans to establish a hydrogen network in Bulgaria. The first phase of the infrastructure project for pure hydrogen transmission – the construction of a 250-kilometer pipeline from Sofia to the Greek border with two compressor stations, has been proposed as a project of common interest or PCI to the European Union, it noted. It is a joint effort with Greece’s National Natural Gas System Operator – DESFA (also known as Hellenic Gas Transmission System Operator).

Bulgartransgaz and its Greek counterpart DESFA proposed the pipeline as an EU project of common interest

“We are also developing projects to adapt the gas transmission network to operate with up to 10% hydrogen,” Malinov said. Bulgartransgaz is a member of the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance and a participant in the European Hydrogen Backbone initiative.

In fact, almost all hydrogen is currently produced from fossil gas. The European Commission is promoting green or renewable hydrogen, which is obtained by water electrolysis using renewable electricity, as energy storage and a solution that would help decarbonize a range of industries.

The technology is still far from profitable and relies on the EU’s massive subsidies. Of note, it is partly including hydrogen production facilities powered by nuclear plants in its renewable energy targets. The amount of greenhouse gas emissions from the process is not much higher than with the use of renewables. Both kinds together are called low-carbon or clean hydrogen while the nuclear-only version is pink hydrogen.

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