01.11.2023  |  News

Bad Lauchstädt Energy Park: Conversion of the gas transport pipeline for the transport of hydrogen enters the 2nd phase. Phase

  • Installation of pigging station important milestone in the conversion of the gas transport pipeline
  • The initiative is part of the diverse measures for the construction of the Bad Lauchstädt Energy Park
  • Bad Lauchstädt Energy Park as an important building block for the hydrogen economy in Germany with a complete value chain in Central Germany and starting point for the planned Germany-wide H2 core network

In order to be able to optimally control the pipeline network of the future of the transmission system operator ONTRAS Gastransport GmbH, even when operating with hydrogen, and thus ensure technically flawless operation, a pigging station has been installed at the Bad Lauchstädt Energy Park site. Intelligent measuring probes, known as pigs, can be inserted into a transport pipeline during operation with the aid of such a pigging station and, similar to a pneumatic post system, travel through the pipeline to the next pigging station to check its condition. Installing the pigging station is a crucial part of converting the gas transport pipeline to transport hydrogen.

“This is another important step towards the creation of our Bad Lauchstädt Energy Park, which will be the first project in Germany to model the entire value chain of the hydrogen economy. Wind turbines and the electrolyser are currently being built in the immediate vicinity, which together will produce the hydrogen that ONTRAS will transport to the customer. The project is not only a pioneering project in its entirety, but with the conversion of an existing natural gas pipeline, we will be putting the first hydrogen pipeline in Germany into operation as early as next year,” explained Cornelia Müller-Pagel, project manager in the consortium.

In order to be able to convert the transport pipeline, which was previously operated with natural gas, appropriate preparations have been made since the start of the project in 2021. This included an in-depth inspection of the technical condition of the pipeline and the creation of a catalogue of measures for upgrading the pipeline based on the results. To this end, technical measures such as replacing the valves and disconnecting the pipeline from the natural gas network have been and are now being implemented.

“By lifting the pre-assembled pigging station into a prepared excavation pit using a mobile crane and welding it to the pipeline in the ground, we have also laid another foundation stone for the gas transport network of the future. What begins with a pipeline of just over 25 kilometres long, which transports the green hydrogen to the customer, is also the starting point for the planned Eastern German hydrogen transport network, our ONTRAS H2 starter network. With a pipeline length of over 900 kilometres and connections to other hydrogen projects, it is to be an essential part of the nationwide H2 core network currently under discussion,” comments Dr. Ralf Borschinsky, ONTRAS press spokesman

Preparations for the commissioning of the hydrogen pipeline will continue in the following months. This requires the construction of a transfer station and the installation of a gas purification and drying system. By the time the Bad Lauchstädt Energy Park is fully commissioned in 2025, test transports of hydrogen will follow, which will be scientifically supported by the DBI – Gastechnologisches Institut gGmbH Freiberg.

Contact Person

Katharina Wilsdorf 

T: +49 341 2310 9033