Hydrogen Blending to Decarbonize the Natural Gas Grid

by | Mar 1, 2024 | Event, Sustainability, Valves, Actuators & Regulators

Emerson Exchange News Team

Emerson Exchange News Team

The long-term strategy in Italy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through decarbonization focuses on increasing energy efficiency, electrification of end uses and switching to alternative fuels. Within the residential sector, to meet 2050 emissions targets, around 30% of final consumption will be of alternative, renewable fuels. The use of hydrogen aims to reach 2% by 2030 and 20% by 2050.

In Italy, gas transportation and distribution networks supply customers with over 70 billion Scm/year of natural gas. Mixing hydrogen into the natural gas network is an effective method for decarbonizing end uses, stimulating the hydrogen market and exploiting the over-generation of renewable energy. The use of natural gas and hydrogen (H2GN) mixtures enables the decarbonization of urban thermal uses without the need to replace current natural gas heating systems. This supports an energy transition without it being reliant on the will and economic resources of individual citizens. The injection of hydrogen into the gas networks also allows the storage and use of excess electricity production from renewables and reduces the dependence on foreign natural gas. The distribution of natural gas mixed with hydrogen allows existing infrastructure to be utilized.

Alessandro Morgagni from Inrete Distribuzione Energia

Alessandro Morgagni from Inrete Distribuzione Energia.

At the Emerson Exchange EMEA 2024 conference in Düsseldorf, Alessandro Morgagni from Inrete Distribuzione Energia outlined the first project in Italy to blend hydrogen into the natural gas network.


Inrete Distribuzione Energia was established by the HERA Group to manage the distribution of natural gas and electricity. Serving mainly the Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy, the company distributes gas in 140 municipalities and electricity in 29 municipalities. Inrete is responsible for managing the local gas networks, providing maintenance and development of the distribution system, including natural gas metering services.


From 2022, the distribution of natural gas containing 2% hydrogen has been allowed in Italy.


The Green Gas Castelfranco project is the first example in Italy of hydrogen being blended into natural gas and supplied to homes through the urban gas distribution grid. The main objective of the project is to demonstrate that it is possible to distribute hydrogen and natural gas mixtures in residential areas using existing gas networks. The project will also help to verify and systemize the specific methods required to manage the network, from odorization to the measurement of gas supplied to customers.

The use of natural gas and hydrogen mixtures enables the decarbonization of urban thermal uses without the need to replace current natural gas heating systems.


The project will also help verify interest by involving both customers and the industrial supply chain. The project represents a great opportunity for the entire sector, with partners such as Emerson developing dedicated technologies and solutions to ensure safe and efficient operation. Emerson has provided a range of technical solutions for pressure reduction and measurement.



The Green Gas Castelfranco project includes the implementation of four hydrogen-natural gas mixture injection tests in a small portion of the gas distribution network. A suitable section of Inrete’s gas network in the Municipality of Castelfranco Emilia was identified. This is a typical low-pressure gas network for a small residential area (40 gas customers) with a single supply point. For the first two tests, a 2% volume of hydrogen was injected into the natural gas. Where legally possible, the volume of hydrogen will increase to up to 10%.


During the injections, performance and emission tests were conducted at customer sites, specifically on appliances such as boilers and hobs. The tests confirmed the proper functioning of the appliances supplied in terms of energy efficiency and combustion emissions


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