Nord Stream to carry provisions for a low carbon Europe

An Expert's View about Trade Agreements in Russia

Posted on: 7 Apr 2010

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.

News from the Archive 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 renewable sources. 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 energy. 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 hydrogen production. 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 gas mixture. 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 Europe. ?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,? Jumppanen estimates. Currently, there are several programs going on in Russia for clean energy production including hydrogen generation and storage, fuel cells and hydrogen engines. Sources: Nord Stream Europe Energy Portal
Posted: 07 April 2010

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Nord Stream to carry provisions for a low carbon Europe   By Teknotietamys Oy (Techknowledge Ltd.)