HyBlend project to assess the compatibility of hydrogen with pipeline materials and operations

Led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) of the United States Department of Energy (DOE) – with participation from Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) —the two-year program HyBlend The project will assess the compatibility of hydrogen with pipeline materials and operations and provide important information regarding long-term impacts.

The United States has an extensive network of approximately 3,000,000 miles of gas pipelines and over 1,600 miles of dedicated hydrogen pipelines. Hydrogen produced by clean routes can be injected into gas pipelines and the resulting mixtures can be used to generate heat and electricity with fewer emissions than using natural gas alone.

However, the mixing limits depend on the design and condition of the current pipeline materials, pipeline infrastructure equipment, and applications that use natural gas. The HyBlend team will test pipeline materials in various concentrations of hydrogen at pressures up to 100 bar to assess their sensitivity to the effects of hydrogen.

R&D will assess the impact of hydrogen on the durability of pipeline materials, using unique high pressure test facilities at H-Mat laboratories. H-Mat is a national consortium of laboratories co-directed by SNL and PNNL, carrying out transversal R&D on the compatibility of metallic and polymer materials for the service of hydrogen.

The main deliverables will include:

  • A publicly available tool that characterizes the costs of the mixture and its potential for reducing emissions compared to alternative routes (eg renewable natural gas).

  • A publicly available tool that assesses the risks of mixing in a pipeline system taking into account the materials used, the age of the system and the concentration of the mixture.

DOE’s Office of Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies (HFTO) launched the HyBlend collaboration in 2021 and will coordinate related work under the DOE’s Hydrogen Program. R&D projects within the collaboration are mainly carried out by the National Laboratory team led by NREL.

More than 30 stakeholders from industry, nonprofits and academia are supporting this public-private effort sponsored by the DOE’s Office of Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies within the Office of energy efficiency and renewable energies. GTI is first Energy industry participation and direct funding and in-kind cost-sharing to complement the $ 10 million funding provided by the government.

Operations Technology Development (OTD) and Utilization Technology Development (UTD) – two global collaborations of leading natural gas utilities supporting research solutions for a wide range of challenges and changes for gas systems – provide financial support.

Other companies that have joined GTI to support the HyBlend project include Boardwalk Pipelines; ConocoPhillips Company; Equitrans intermediate; Mears Group, Inc., a Quanta Services company; PSE & G; Xcel Energy; ONEOK Inc .; Exelon Corp .; and GRT Gaz Center for Energy Research and Innovation (RICE), an organization based in Europe.

GTI serves as a liaison with industry and will play a key role in technical reviews, as life cycle analysis for carbon emission reductions and techno-economic analysis are performed to evaluate storage and transportation solutions. of hydrogen at the grid scale.

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