The country intends to use its large reserves of natural gas and strong nuclear R&D to push clean hydrogen production.
Russia has been drafting a national hydrogen strategy in collaboration with renewable experts Japan and Germany in a bid to become a major hydrogen exporter in the next few decades. The country’s hydrogen strategy mainly lies in state-developed infrastructure for transporting hydrogen, encouraging hydrogen as a transport fuel and promoting energy storage.
Rosatom, a Russian energy giant and Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries have been discussing a partnership that will enable Russia to export 2m tonnes of hydrogen to the Asia-Pacific and Europe by 2035. As opposed to electrolysis, Russia’s approach to extracting hydrogen from natural gas using nuclear energy will be significantly cheaper. Russian Deputy Minister of Energy, Pavel Sorokin believes that this will allow Russia to offer grey hydrogen at competitive export prices.
Earlier this year, Novatek – Russia’s largest independent gas producer – announced that it was exploring steam-methane reforming facilities on the Yamal peninsula to produce hydrogen alongside existing LPG production. According to Novatek CEO Leonid Mikhelson, hydrogen development will be accompanied by a carbon capture and storage project to enable the delivery of blue hydrogen that meets European standards for carbon dioxide emissions. Mikhelson stated that in the next 30-40 years, he expects hydrogen to stand for a large share in global energy consumption.
Russian gas titan Gazprom has taken the long view. The company presently manages pipeline infrastructure to Europe and has been steadily expanding its capacity to China. Once natural gas has been phased out, Gazprom intends to use these pipelines to ship admixed hydrogen.
Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said: “experts say that hydrogen may constitute 7 to 25 percent of the global energy balance by 2050, as soon as the issues of high production costs and the challenges related to transportation are resolved.”Russia is confident of the hydrogen market’s positive growth in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. The Russian government is already working on a joint plan of action on hydrogen development for the energy sector and may look to create partnerships under which Russian hydrogen can be supplied to Germany, added Novak.