Nord Stream - a gas pipeline to link Russia and the European Union via the Baltic Sea – will improve energy security in Europe. Together with renewables it also helps meet EU's emissions targets, and in long-run the pipeline even paves the way towards hydrogen-based economy.
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The 1,200-kilometer undersea Nord Stream pipeline would carry gas from the northwestern Russian
port of Vyborg to the northern German port of Greifswald, bypassing current routes through Poland,
Belarus and Ukraine. Map: Nord Stream
Nord Stream to carry provisions for a low carbon Europe
Nord Stream - a gas pipeline to link Russia and the European Union via the Baltic Sea ? will improve energy security in Europe. Together with renewables it also
helps meet EU's emissions targets, and in long-run the pipeline even paves the way towards hydrogen-based economy. In addition, it is a major infrastructure
project that sets a new benchmark in EU-Russia cooperation.
EU's climate protection targets include a 20 percent drop in carbon dioxide emissions below 1990
levels, a 20 percent rise in energy efficiency, and an eventual 20 percent of all energy coming from
The targets strongly favour an increase of renewables in the EU energy mix, but gas remains
important because overall energy consumption in the EU is expected to rise. Its use is assured for
many years to come as a transition technology in the conversion to sustained use of renewable
Compared with coal and oil, natural gas has low environmental impact. The combustion of natural
gas emits almost 30 percent less carbon dioxide than oil and 40 percent less than coal.
The pipeline will transport up to 55 billion cubic meters of gas each year. This is enough to supply
more than 25 million households.
The Nord Stream will be 1,200 kilometers long and will consist of two parallel lines. The first one
is due for completion in 2011, the second in 2012. Total investment in the offshore pipeline is
projected at EUR7.4 billion.
Pipeline's environmental impacts minimized
Nord Stream is a joint project of four major companies: OAO Gazprom, BASF SE/Wintershall
Holding AG, E.ON Ruhrgas AG and N.V. Nederlandse Gasunie.
The pipeline will pass through the waters of Finland, Sweden, Russia, Denmark and Germany.
Nord Stream commissioned independent European
companies to conduct a comprehensive research of the
Baltic Sea seabed to date. The research results help define
the pipeline?s technical design and optimum route, thereby
keeping environmental impact to an absolute minimum.
The environmental analysis over the entire route costs were
EUR100 million, and it took Nord Stream four years to
receive construction permits from the countries concerned.
In this autumn, governments in Denmark and Sweden endorsed the pipeline construction in their
waters. Finnish Government granted consent for the plan to construct the pipeline. But according to
Finnish law, the pipeline must still receive a construction permit from Western Finland
Environmental Permit Authority. The decision is expected to be given by the end of January 2010.
Contributing hydrogen future
Russian Kurchatov Institute has developed an innovative natural gas reforming technology for
The technology, based on steam reforming of methane originating from natural gas or associated
gas (methane + water steam => hydrogen + carbon dioxide), provides a high yield process to
produce hydrogen in the oil and gas fields.
If the process is carried out in the neighbourhood of an oil or gas fields, the created carbon dioxide
can then be pumped into the oil or natural gas reservoirs to enhance oil or gas recovery. The
hydrogen would be delivered to customers via natural gas pipelines.
Hydrogen pipelines already are commonly used in the industry, and also Nord Stream pipeline has
been designed and would be constructed to deliver pure hydrogen or preferably hydrogen-natural
According to Finnish Professor Pauli Jumppanen of PJ consulting, this production concept ?
although its technology and economy is still to be verified - may well contribute to a future
development of the European hydrogen society, which in an important political issue in today?s
?There are technological and economic challenges in the hydrogen pipeline transport. Main
problems are caused by gas diffusion, materials behaviour such as corrosion and brittleness, and the
compression technology,? he says.
"Because of interests in the hydrogen economy and infrastructure development, however, extensive
research and development efforts on the mentioned problems have been established worldwide,?
Currently, there are several programs going on in Russia for clean energy production including
hydrogen generation and storage, fuel cells and hydrogen engines.
Europe Energy Portal