Skip to content

Mitigation of CO Poisoning Hazard in Malfunctioning Gas Appliances Through Use of Hydrogen Blended Gas


The HyDeploy project [1] has undertaken an extensive research programme to assess safety and performance of the existing UK gas appliances population fueled with natural gas / hydrogen admixtures (hydrogen blended gas). The first stage of this work [2] focused on well maintained and normally functioning appliances. This work demonstrated that unmodified gas appliances can operate safely with hydrogen blended gas (up to 20 vol% hydrogen) and the key hazard areas of carbon monoxide (CO) production, light back and flame out, and the operation of flame failure devices are unaffected. It is widely recognized that due to aging and variable degrees of maintenance that the combustion performance of a gas appliance will depreciate over time. In extreme cases this can lead to situations where high levels of CO may be released back into the dwelling resulting in CO poisoning to the occupants. To obtain a universal appreciation of the effect of hydrogen addition on the safety and performance of all gas appliances operation under sub optimal conditions is required, and therefore it is important that the operation of malfunctioning appliances fuelled with hydrogen blended gas is assessed. A review of failure modes identified six key scenarios where the composition of the fuel gas may lead to changes in safety performance - these primarily related to the resulting composition of the flue gas but also included delayed ignition. Gas appliance faults that will increase the CO production were tested through a series of experiments to simulate fault conditions and assess the effect of hydrogen blended gas. The fault modes examined included linting, flame chilling, incorrect appliance set up and modification of gas valve operation. The programme utilized six different appliances tested with three methane-hydrogen fuel blends (containing 0, 20 and 28.4 vol% hydrogen). In all cases the switch to hydrogen blended gas reduced CO production. The change in CO production when using hydrogen blended gas is a consequence of a decrease in the theoretical air requirement to achieve complete combustion. In some cases, the amount of CO produced was identical to the nonfault baseline performance on methane, thereby fully mitigating the consequence of the malfunction. In the case of very high CO production a 90% reduction was recorded when using 20 vol% hydrogen blended gas. In situations such as non-optimal boiler set up the addition of hydrogen to the gas supply would prevent the production of high levels of CO. The findings here, together with the results from HyDeploy 1 [2] indicate that the safety and performance of unmodified existing UK gas appliances are not detrimentally affected when using hydrogen blended gas. Furthermore the addition of hydrogen to the fuel gas has been shown to reduce CO production under fault conditions, therefore the introduction of hydrogen into the gas network may serve to mitigate the hazard posed by existing faulty appliances that are producing elevated levels of CO.

Funding source: The Office for Gas and Electricity Markets (OFGEM) who sanctioned funding for the project under the Network Innovation Competition.
Related subjects: Hydrogen Blending
Countries: United Kingdom

Article metrics loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error