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Approaches and Methods to Demonstrate Repurposing of the UK's Local Transmission System (LTS) Pipelines for Transportation of Hydrogen


Hydrogen has the potential as an energy solution to contribute to decarbonisation targets as it has the capability to deliver low-carbon energy at the scale required. For this to be realised, the suitability of the existing natural gas pipeline networks for transporting hydrogen must be established. The current paper describes a feasibility study that was undertaken to assess the potential for repurposing the UK’s Local Transmission System (LTS) natural gas pipelines for hydrogen service. The analysis focused on SGN’s network, which includes 3000 km of LTS pipelines in Scotland and the south of England. The characteristics of the LTS pipelines in terms of materials of construction and operation were first evaluated. This analysis showed that a significant percentage of SGN’s LTS network consists of lower strength grades of steel pipeline that operate at low stresses, which are factors conducive to a pipeline’s suitability for hydrogen service. An assessment was also made of where existing approaches in pipeline operation may require modifications for hydrogen. The effects of changes in mechanical properties of steel pipelines on integrity and lifetime as a result of potential hydrogen degradation were demonstrated using fitness-for-purpose analysis. A review of pipeline risk assessment and Land-Use Planning (LUP) zone calculations for hydrogen was undertaken to identify any required changes. Case studies on selected sections of the LTS pipeline were then carried out to illustrate the potential changes to LUP zones. The work concluded with a summary of identified gaps that require addressing to ensure safe pipeline repurposing for hydrogen, which cover materials performance, inspection, risk assessment, land use planning and procedures.

Funding source: This work was funded by SGN under Ofgem’s NIA funding mechanism.
Related subjects: Safety
Countries: United Kingdom

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