Assessing Hydrogen Compatibility in the Natural Gas Infrastructure

The detailed consequences of mixing hydrogen with natural gas throughout the North American natural gas distribution system is important for maintaining a safe and reliable network. GTI is assesses the corrosion and hydrogen embrittlement mechanisms associated with the addition of hydrogen and looking at the impact of hydrogen blends on end use equipment.

GTI Energy has completed in-depth hydrogen blend studies for a consortium of natural gas operators as well as the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. These projects focused on the life cycle assessment of hydrogen blending as well as the safety, leakage, durability, integrity, end use, and environmental impacts.

Following this study, GTI Energy conducted an evaluation of the effects of hydrogen blending in natural gas on non-metallic material properties and operational safety through a series of laboratory testing funded by Operations Technology Development (OTD). This work assessed the material integrity and operational compatibility of a bounded natural gas pipeline system and its components with a 5% hydrogen-blended fuel, to help determine if any system upgrades might be necessary to reduce risk and support gas interchangeability. Evaluating gas interchangeability with blends that contain > 5% hydrogen has also been identified as a future research need.

Additional work sponsored by OTD is being conducted to assess the impacts of hydrogen blended fuel on metallic materials in the natural gas pipeline system. Safety factors for hydrogen gas systems need to be established based on materials tests performed under relevant and site-specific mechanical, environmental, and material conditions. This work will develop engineering tools to allow an integrity assessment and a safety margin determination of hydrogen blended gas use for a range of system parameters and conditions.

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