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Investigation of Hydrogen-Blended Natural Gas Pipelines in Utility Tunnel Leakage and Development of an Accident Ventilation Strategy for the Worst Leakage Conditions


The development of hydrogen-blended natural gas (HBNG) increases the risk of gas transportation and presents challenges for pipeline security in utility tunnels. The objective of this study is to investigate the diffusion properties of HBNG in utility tunnels and evaluate the effectiveness of various ventilation mechanisms. The numerical simulation software Fluent 2023 R1 is applied to simulate and analyze the leakage of small holes in a HBNG pipeline in the natural gas compartment. By examining the leaking behavior of HBNG through small holes in different circumstances, we aimed to identify the most unfavorable operational situation for leakage. Subsequently, we analyzed the ventilation strategy for sub-high-pressure pipes at various pressure levels in this unfavorable condition. This study’s findings demonstrate that blending hydrogen improves the gas diffusion capacity and increases the likelihood of explosion. The primary factors that influence the pattern of leakage are the size of the leaking holes and the pressure of the pipeline. The gas compartment experiences the most unfavorable working conditions for natural gas pipeline leaks when there are higher pressures, wider leak openings, higher hydrogen blending ratios (HBRs), and leaks in close proximity to an air inlet. When the HBR is 20%, the minimum accident ventilation rates for pressures of 0.4 MPa and 0.8 MPa are 15 air changes per hour and 21 air changes per hour, respectively. The maximum allowable wind speed for accident ventilation is 5 m/s, as regulated by China’s national standard, GB 50838-2015. This regulation makes it difficult to minimize the risk of leakage in a 1.6 MPa gas pipeline. It is recommended to install a safety interlock device to quickly shut off the pipeline in the event of a leak in order to facilitate the dispersion of the substance.

Funding source: This study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 52104065), China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (No. 2022T150089), Natural Science Foundation of Heilongjiang Province of China (No. LH2021E019), China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (No. 2020M681064), Hei Long Jiang Postdoctoral Foundation (No. LBH-Z20101), National Natural Science Foundation of China (52074090), Scientific Research Personnel Training Foundation of Northeast Petroleum University (No. XNYXLY202103), and Northeast Petroleum University Scientific Research Foundation (No. 2019KQ54).
Related subjects: Hydrogen Blending

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