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H21- Consumer and Gas Network Metering Phase 1: A Review of the Worldwide Hydrogen Meter Technologies and Applications


There is no inherent property of hydrogen that makes it unsuitable for metering at distribution or transmission pressures. Towns gas containing large percentages of hydrogen was used for many years in the UK and continues to be in use in Hong Kong and Singapore. Many manufacturers sell their ordinary mechanical gas meters as suitable for hydrogen in a laboratory or industrial situation; unfortunately lack of demand has meant that none of these meters seem to have certified under appropriate metering regulations for gaseous hydrogen (e.g. the Measuring Instruments Directive)
Some of the more sophisticated modern inferential meters (e.g. thermal or ultrasonic) currently designed specifically for natural gas (or LPG if suitably calibrated) are likely to unsuitable for repurposing directly to hydrogen but none of the problems appear fundamental or insuperable. The largest potential hurdle probably surrounds the physical size of current meters. A hydrogen appliance will consume about 3.3 more hydrogen than natural gas (on a volumetric basis) and using traditional designs this would have been measured through a meter probably too large to fit within an existing meter box. Unless unsolved such an increase in size would add materially to any hydrogen re-purposing programme.
The meter trade thus need to be challenged to come up with a hydrogen meter that is the same physical size as a natural gas meter on a power rating basis (i.e. in kW). Ultrasonic and thermal mass meters should be included in the necessary Research and Development programme.
A meter test programme is suggested that will provide evidence to meter manufacturers that the metering of hydrogen is not inherently difficult and thus convince them to make the necessary investments and/or approach the GDNO’s for assistance with such a programme.

Countries: United Kingdom

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