Highlights & Projects

Why SmartSim is now being used in Austria

Since the beginning of 2024, two grid operators in Austria, Netz Niederösterreich GmbH and Vorarlberger Energienetze GmbH, have been using SmartSim for the first time to determine the correct calorific values (CVs) for their customers. Both grid operators are applying gas quality tracking to operate their grid flexibly in the upcoming expansion of biogas injection.

The Austrian gas market has historically been characterised by low fluctuations in gas quality. Gas consumption has been billed by converting volume into energy using a uniform CV. By implementing gas quality tracking, Netz Niederösterreich and Vorarlberger Energienetze comply with legal requirements for CV determination for billing purposes which came into effect in 2024. These requirements are part of a regulatory framework aimed at helping Austria to achieve its ambitious expansion targets for biogas and hydrogen:

The share of renewable gas in the Austrian gas market is to increase to 11 per cent or 10.5 terawatt hours by 2030 [1]. With the Renewable Gas Act, gas suppliers are obliged to replace a certain proportion of fossil natural gas with renewable gas in the future. The quota model leads to an increase in the share of renewable gases, reducing dependence on imports and increasing security of supply [2]. Netz Niederösterreich expects a significant increase in biogas plants feeding into its grid by 2030.

The successful commissioning by SmartSim GmbH at the beginning of the year followed the completion of an 18-month implementation phase. In line with our established process, grid models were created, grid analyses conducted, and system validation completed. The validation of the calorific values was carried out in two steps, including uncertainty calculations and experimental verification using mobile process gas chromatographs (GCs). As a result, both systems comply with the ÖNORM EN ISO 15112 – Natural Gas – Energy Determination, derived from the international standard. Simultaneously, the SmartSim software was further developed to meet the requirements of the Austrian gas market and its customers.

The successful commissioning of both systems represents a significant milestone for the integration of renewable gases in Austria.

May 2024

[1] https://info.bml.gv.at/themen/wald/wald-und-klima/biogasproduktion-sichert-heimische-energieversorgung.html

[2] Erneuerbares-Gas-Gesetz – EGG (251/ME)