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Gas Detection of Hydrogen/Natural Gas Blends in the Gas Industry


A key element in the safe operation of a modern gas distribution system is gas detection. The addition of hydrogen to natural gas will alter the characteristics of the fuel and, therefore, its impact on gas detection must be considered. It is important that gas detectors remain sufficiently sensitive to the presence of hydrogen and natural gas mixtures, and that they do not lead to false readings. This paper presents analyses of work performed as part of the Office for Gas and Energy Markets (OFGEM) funded HyDeploy project, on the response of various natural gas industry detectors to blended mixtures up to 20 volume percent (vol%) of hydrogen in natural gas. The scope of the detectors under test included survey instruments and personal monitors that are used in the gas industry. Four blend ratios were analysed (0, 10, 15 and 20 vol% hydrogen in natural gas). The laboratory testing undertaken investigated the following:

  • Flammable response to blends in the ppm range (0-0.2 vol%);
  • Flammable response to blends in the lower explosion limit range (0.2-5 vol%);
  • Flammable response to blends in the volume percent range (5-100 vol%);
  • Oxygen response to blends in the volume percent range (0-25 vol%); and
  • Carbon monoxide response to blends in the ppm range (0-1000 ppm).
Catalytic and thermal conductivity based flammable detectors in the volume percent range are, as expected, affected in the form of a relative increase in output. All of the carbon monoxide detectors tested were found to be cross-sensitive to hydrogen in the blended mixtures tested at levels which have the potential to cause false alarms at current permissible leakage rates. In summary, a number of measurement ranges across multiple detectors commonly used in the gas industry have been found to be cross-sensitive to hydrogen in natural gas blends to differing degrees. This required the HyDeploy project to select alternative instruments for the purpose of gas detection as part of the trial. This paper relates to the preparatory work to introduce hydrogen into the Keele closed network.

Related subjects: Hydrogen Blending ; Safety
Countries: United Kingdom

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Gas detection of hydrogen & natural gas blends in the gas industry

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