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Use of Existing Gas Infrastructure in European Hydrogen Economy


The rapidly increasing production volume of clean hydrogen creates challenges for transport infrastructure. This study improves understanding of hydrogen transport options in Europe and provides more detailed analysis on the prospects for hydrogen transport in Finland. Previous studies and ongoing pipeline projects were reviewed to identify potential and barriers to hydrogen transport. A fatigue life assessment tool was built because material challenges have been one of the main concerns of hydrogen transportation. Many European countries aim at utilizing existing gas infrastructure for hydrogen. Conducted studies and pilot facilities have provided promising results. Hydrogen reduces the fatigue life of the pipeline, but existing pipelines can be used for hydrogen if pressure variation is maintained at a reasonable level and the maximum operation pressure is limited. Moreover, the use of existing pipelines can reduce hydrogen transport costs, but the suitability of every pipeline for hydrogen must be analyzed, and several issues such as leakage, leakage detection, effects of hydrogen on pipeline assets and end users, corrosion, maintenance, and metering of gas flow must be considered. The development of hydrogen transport will vary within countries depending on the structure of the existing gas infrastructure, and on the future hydrogen use profile.

Funding source: The authors gratefully acknowledge the public financing of Business Finland for the ‘HYGCEL’ project
Countries: Finland

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