This week’s Pipeliners Podcast episode features Otto Jan Huising and Duane Harris discussing new hydrogen testing and findings, how higher concentrations of hydrogen can affect the pipeline, proper readings, and metering.
In this episode, you will learn about how to use sound to decipher the amount of hydrogen in a pipeline, what it takes to safely dispose of hydrogen, and the differences in hydrogen technology in Europe and the US.
Implementing Hydrogen Projects Show Notes, Links, and Insider Terms:
- Otto Jan Huising works with Gasunie as an Experienced Technical Specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the oil & energy industry. He is skilled in Gas Turbines, Gas, Petroleum, Power Plants, and Pipelines with a Bachelor of Science (BSc) focused in Metallurgical Engineering from Hogeschool Utrecht, IWE degree and BSc in Inspection Engineering. Connect with Otto on LinkedIn
- Duane Harris is the US Project Manager for the Flow Division of SICK, INC.. Connect with Duane on LinkedIn.
- SICK provides sensor intelligence and application solutions for industry. The Flow divisions of SICK’s Process group provides a variety of measurement solutions to the oil and gas industry.
- Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) is a pipeline-quality gas that is fully interchangeable with conventional natural gas. The quality of RNG is similar to fossil natural gas and has a methane concentration of 90% or greater.
- Hydrogen Gas is a clean energy carrier that can be used to store, move, and deliver energy produced from other sources. Hydrogen can be produced from a variety of domestic resources, such as natural gas, nuclear power, biomass, and renewable power like solar and wind. These qualities make it an attractive fuel option for transportation and electricity generation applications. It can be used in cars, in houses, for portable power, and in many more applications.
- Hydrogen Injection or Hydrogen Blending is the concept of adding Hydrogen gas to existing natural gas pipelines, and delivering a carefully controlled blend of gasses to the customer, with the goal of reducing the carbon intensity of the fuel. While simple in concept, this is a complex and potentially deadly process, since hydrogen may embrittle certain steel pipes, resulting in catastrophic failure. On a volume basis, at a given pressure, Hydrogen provides only a small fraction of the energy that is provided by natural gas, which can cause difficulty in end use devices.
- The PRCI (Pipeline Research Council International) is the preeminent global collaborative research organization of, by, and for the energy pipeline industry.
- European Pipeline Research Group (EPRG) is a registered association of European pipe manufacturers, pipeline operators, installation contractors and service providing companies that are active in the field of pipeline safety.
- ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) promotes the art, science and practice of multidisciplinary engineering and allied sciences around the globe.
- ASME B31.12 is the standard on Hydrogen Piping and Pipelines contains requirements for piping in gaseous and liquid hydrogen service and pipelines in gaseous hydrogen service.
- Option B of ASME B31.12 states that fracture toughness qualification testing is required to validate the minimum threshold stress intensity factor (KIH) at the design pressure and 100% H2 concentration.
- AGA (American Gas Association) represents companies delivering natural gas safely, reliably, and in an environmentally responsible way to help improve the quality of life for their customers every day. AGA’s mission is to provide clear value to its membership and serve as the indispensable, leading voice and facilitator on its behalf in promoting the safe, reliable, and efficient delivery of natural gas to homes and businesses across the nation.
- API (American Petroleum Institute) represents all segments of America’s natural gas and oil industry. API has developed more than 700 standards to enhance operational and environmental safety, efficiency, and sustainability.
- GPA or GPA Midstream Association is a voluntary industry organization composed of member companies that operate in the midstream sector of our industry. GPA Midstream sets standards for natural gas liquids; develops simple and reproducible test methods to define the industry’s raw materials and products; manages a worldwide cooperative research program; provides a voice for our industry on Capitol Hill; and is the go-to resource for technical reports and publications.
- The Energy Futures Initiative (EFI) is dedicated to harnessing the power of innovation in technology and policy development to create energy jobs, enhance global energy access and security, and promote science-based, actionable solutions to the challenge of climate change. They do this through coalition building, thought leadership, and conducting science-based analysis.
- FLOWCAL by Quorum Software is an oil and gas measurement software platform that is used by operators for the back-office validation, processing, and reporting of natural gas and hydrocarbon liquids.
- BTU (British Thermal Unit) is a measure of the heat content of fuels or energy sources. It is the quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of liquid water by 1 degree Fahrenheit at the temperature that water has its greatest density (approximately 39 degrees Fahrenheit).
- GC (Gas Chromatography) is an analytical technique used to separate the chemical components of a gas mixture and then qualify the individual components. GCs are frequently used in natural gas measurement to determine the quality and heating value of natural gas for process control and custody transfer purposes.
- Process GC is a Gas Chromatograph designed and used outside of the laboratory environment. Process GCs may be installed in the plant process area or at a pipeline measurement station, with the output tied directly into process control and/or measurement equipment.
- Ultrasonic measurement emits sound waves at a frequency too high for humans to hear. They then wait for the sound to be reflected back, calculating distance based on the time required.
- PCI is the leading manufacturer of integrated mobile and portable nitrogen generation equipment for the oil & gas industry.
- Australian Pipeline Gas Association is an Australian industry association representing Australia’s high-pressure transmission pipeline sector, with a principal focus on long-distance oil and gas transmission, but also including transportation of other products such as water, slurry and carbon dioxide.
- Sound lobe is the characteristics of a sound curve of natural gas going through a meter versus the sound curve of hydrogen going through a meter.
- Check out the podcasts Russel mentioned with Bob Franco here.
- HyTap Full-Scale Test mentioned during the episode
- Line pack usage of a hydrogen transmission system
- Conversion of an existing NG transmission line to hydrogen
Implementing Hydrogen Projects Full Episode Transcript:
Russel Treat: Welcome to the “Pipeliners Podcast,” episode 287, sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute, driving safety, environmental protection, and sustainability across the natural gas and oil industry through world class standards and safety programs.
Since its formation as a standard setting organization in 1919, API has developed more than 800 standards to enhance industry operations worldwide. Find out more about API at API.org.
Announcer: The Pipeliners Podcast, where professionals, Bubba geeks, and industry insiders share their knowledge and experience about technology, projects, and pipeline operations.
Now your host, Russel Treat.
Russel: Thanks for listening to the “Pipeliners Podcast.” I appreciate you taking the time. To show our appreciation, we give away a customized YETI tumbler to one listener every episode. This week, our winner is Bryan Robison with Targa. Congratulations, Bryan. Your YETI is on its way. To learn how you can win this signature price, stick around till the end of the episode.
This week, we are speaking to Otto Jan Huising with Gasunie and Duane Harris with Crone about implementing hydrogen projects and the current considerations and research. Otto, Duane, welcome to the Pipeliner’s Podcast.
Duane Harris: Thank you, Russel.
Otto Jan Huising: Thanks. We’ll see where the conversation goes, Russel.
Russel: Otto and Duane, I’d like to ask you guys, tell us a little bit about yourself, what you do, where you’re at, and how you got there. Otto, do you mind going first?
Otto: No. No problem, I’m working at the Dutch transmission operator Gasunie. We own about 10,000 miles of transmission grids in Northern Europe, Netherlands and Germany. I’m working there as a specialist for welding materials and non-destructive examinations. Very active in the integrity field.
Involved with research organizations, one of which is the Pipeline Research Council International.Including the emerging fuels institute. I’m also involved with the European Pipeline Research Group, where I’m leading the hydrogen topic group.
My daily work, apart from being involved with all this research, is being the welding expert of the company and responsible for the welding specifications. How I got there. Before Gasunie, I worked as an inspector on boilers and pressure vessels.
Did that work for about 10 years, where I also got a possibility to obtain my ASME authorized inspectorship and A endorsement. With that, I got also some knowledge of the ASME codes and standards.
Before that, I worked some five years as an operator on a utility plant for giving steam, electricity, clean water, wastewater treatment, and compressed air to five manufacturing plants. Before that, I sailed across the world for two and a half years on ships, because my original education was as a ship’s engineer, working in the engine room of ships. Basically, that’s how I got here.
Russel: Engine room to boiler to pipeline. I love it. That’s awesome. Duane, same question for you.
Duane: First, let me just say thank you for offering us the opportunity to share this information today, Russel. A little bit of history about myself. Today, I am the US manager, product manager, for the Flow Division for SICK Inc.
I joined them in March of 2020. Right whenever the world was entering into COVID , that’s whenever I joined the current organization I’m with today, which is SICK. Great company, great organization.
My focus is with the Ultrasonic Flow Division, as being a product manager for their suite of ultrasonic flow products and, as part of that, am plugged in from a standards perspective, so AGA, API, GPA, PRCI.
It was through PRCI and the EFI task group that we’ve plugged in that I’ve been able to meet Otto and have really enjoyed working with him. I’ve learned a ton from him and that organization.
You may ask, “How did I get here?” If we go all the way back to the beginning, I initially started in this industry working for a company that became Enron. I worked out in the field. I worked as a pipeline operator.
I helped out in the measurement space, learned a lot from a measurement perspective, from a field view of pipeline operations and measurement. I ended up leaving Enron and going full time to the ministry. Absolutely love that, but found I needed to make enough money to support my wife, three sons, and my family.
I went back to work in industry. At that point in time, I joined an organization where I was the manager of measurement for 17 years for a regulated pipeline at 5,000 miles of pipe, and so was focused on operating and measuring with integrity, reducing that loss and unaccounted for, identifying the causes of that, and focused on really a measurement integrity program.
Did that for 17 years and then joined another organization by the name of FlowCal. I was a vice president of business development for Flow Cal for 17 years prior to joining SICK. That’s a little bit of my history that I’ve had the opportunity and privilege of working with Mr. Russel Treat many times.
Russel: I was going to say, Duane, you and I grew up in measurement together. We’ve certainly walked through a lot of the same mud. I’ll just say that.
Duane: A lot of fond memories.
Russel: Exactly. Otto, you reached out after I did a podcast with Bob Franco. Bob’s my go to guy for all things corrosion and metallurgy. There were some declarations at the end that were made that raised your attention and you wanted to get on.
I will say in defense of Bob that I had to drag him on to the podcast because I wanted to get somebody that could talk about the electrochemical stuff that goes on with hydrogen and pipelines. He had to do some research because that’s not really his core area of expertise.
In defense of Bob, he was coming at it from his knowledge base, not as a person necessarily current with what’s going on in hydrogen. Otto, for you guys, and particularly in Europe, that you’re well out in front of where we are in the US in terms of looking at hydrogen. With that as a tee up, why don’t you start by telling me what caused you to reach out and what you wanted to talk about?
Otto: First of all, Bob Franco did an excellent job in explaining all the effects of hydrogen to steel. For that, absolutely compliments. That was a very good podcast on the topic of hydrogen and steel, what the effects are.
From that point of view, no comments, except what triggered me was that he referred to ASME B31.12 as only use option A. The option A, in itself, it’s a very good, let’s say, safe approach. Since the ASME B31.12 was written, which was about 2005, 2006, that’s a long time ago, not much has happened to this standard.
Since that time, and especially the last five, six years, a lot of research has been done further looking into other options of using pipelines for transport of hydrogen. That part of the research has not landed yet in the standard. That’s the reason I reached out to you to get this also into the knowledge of this audience.
Russel: I appreciate that, Otto. That’s one of the reasons I do this as a platform to keep people current. I really encourage folks to reach out. It’s awesome. Can you walk us through maybe as a starting point, at a high level, what is the research that’s been going on around hydrogen and natural gas pipelines and what are we learning from that?
Otto: A lot of research has already been done in the basic characteristics of steel. Toughness, fatigue crack growth, which is what is basically addressed in option B. What is also happening currently is to see the translation from small scale testing to full scale testing.
In Europe, we are currently running a project where we have materials. It’s a 28 inch pipe. The material is being tested on a small scale, but it also will be tested on a full scale. We will run a 28 inch pipe with 100 percent hydrogen where we did notches on the inside and we’ll run it until it will start leaking by cycling in pressure, and then compare the small scale test results with the full scale test results. That’s already where we are at.
Russel: Interesting. What things are you learning from that testing? What are some of the key takeaways?
Otto: What we have learned from the small scale testing, a large project in Germany just was finalized and they tested over 31 pipeline steels from the 1930s up to now.
The big takeaway there was that all steels, even manufactured in the 1930s where the chemical composition is way out of, let’s say, the compositions we see now and the chemical compositions which are required by ASME B31.12, they have about the same behavior in hydrogen as the modern steels.
The big takeaway there is that at least for the European steels and the seam welds we see, and also the girth welds were tested, that we can say there is a general behavior where, as engineers, we can work with to see the effects on the design of the pipelines we have.
Russel: Interesting. You guys are a lot further along in Europe with hydrogen than we are in the US. Is there any place in Europe where they’re currently blending hydrogen into the utility network and actually doing that in production?
Otto: There’s two examples I can give. First one, at Gasunie, we already converted an existing line to 100 percent hydrogen. We already converted the transmission line from natural gas to hydrogen. That’s the one example. The other example is in Germany, at certain locations, they are already blending hydrogen into the transmission grid. They have to do that by law.
There are cases when there’s too much electricity generated by solar farms and wind farms that some solar farms and wind farms invested into an electrolysis unit to bleed off the excess electricity into the natural gas grid because of the negative electricity prices when there is too much generation of wind and solar in Germany.
Russel: As a mechanism to store the electricity in effect.
Otto: Yeah, as a mechanism to make some money at least while you have these amounts of electricity being generated. You cannot dump it into the electricity grid because you have to pay for that.
The other would be, “OK, then I make hydrogen out of it and blend it into the network, where then the transmission operator has to make sure that at the first exit after the entry point, the blend is below three percent.”
Russel: Certainly, with what I know about the research in the US, a blend below five percent is pretty benign in terms of its impact on the steel. It’s not really enough hydrogen to make a material.
Otto: We have to be careful again. I also talk about percentage, but you have what effects you have to look at partial pressure, which was excellently explained by Bob in the podcast.
Russel: Exactly. I’ve talked about this before on another podcast that one of the challenges with hydrogen is its BTU content. It’s about a third of natural gas, quarter to a third of natural gas. To get the same heating value, the same energy delivered, you have to deliver three to four times the amount of gas. How is that being addressed in the pipeline networks in Europe?
Otto: At this moment, it’s a virtual question, because in the future, there might be the case that we see large amounts of hydrogen. We are going to transfer lines, but how much will be delivered in the upcoming period? Nobody knows. Basically, you can increase the speed of transport of hydrogen compared to natural gas with a factor of about three without running into big issues.
Russel: That’s why we asked Duane to come on board and join the podcast. He’s been quiet up till now. I’ll just tell the listeners. Duane and I go back a bit. We’ve probably been working together on various things for 20 plus years. Duane is quite the guru when it comes to measurement. Here’s my question for Duane. What happens in metering when you triple the velocity of the gas?
Duane: It’s a challenge that I will say, Russel, that from a measurement perspective, we are really trying to address that and assess that. There are studies that have been going on to date. PRCI, API, AGA, GPA, all of those industry groups are really focused in this area. First, let me focus on some of the positives.
Some of the positives, if we take and we look at the speed of natural gas, the speed of sound as it travels through natural gas, the huge benefit that if we have a blend of hydrogen with natural gas, because one of the key things that you see is we’ve been talking about the BTU content that we’ve been talking about less.
The BTU content of hydrogen is a third that of natural gas. If we take and we look at the speed of sound, now you’re talking about it’s three times higher for hydrogen. We’re used to the speed of sound of natural gas being around 1,394 feet per second. Whenever we’re talking about hydrogen, we’re talking 4,300 feet per second.
Whenever you start looking at that, we immediately go to some of the negatives. The positive is really, now with the latest technology in metering, what you’re able to really do is you’re really able to assess within about a two percent, mole percent, the quantity of hydrogen that has been blended with the natural gas just with your metering technology. We’ve got a processed gas chromatograph.
Russel: Hold on. You just said a mouthful right there. I’ve got to process that for a minute, because I know enough about ultrasonic measurement, but that’s causing my brain to lock up just for a second.
What you’re saying is that because of the significant difference in speed of sound between hydrogen and natural gas, I can actually use the transmitters to determine what is the percentage of hydrogen.
Duane: That is correct, within about a two mole percent variance. I’m not saying that that would take the place of a chromatograph that is determining what your hydrogen content is in going into a custody transfer type scenario, but as hydrogen is blended through your facilities and now you’re looking at that…
Russel: It gives you a process signal. It doesn’t give you a measurement signal. It gives you a process signal.
Duane: That’s correct. That’s it.
Russel: I should define what I mean for that, for listeners that don’t understand the distinction. Duane will appreciate this because I’ve had this conversation many, many times. There’s a very distinct difference between measurement we need to control a process, like I’m running a fractionator or something like that, versus measurement I need to do custody transfer.
Measurement that I need to do custody transfer has to be highly accurate. The measurement I need to do process needs to be accurate enough. If I have a meter and it’s off by two percent but it’s always off by two percent in the same direction, I can control very accurately off of that versus that’s not good enough to do custody transfer, for the listeners, just as a bit of definition.
Russel: That way, if I’m metering downstream of where I’m blending, I get an idea of how well I’m controlling my blend.
Duane: That is correct. In addition to that, I’m sure that most of your podcast listeners have never had an issue with a process gas chromatograph.
Those who don’t listen, they’re the ones that have problems. The huge benefit that you get is, from that, you’re able to also get an idea of how well your process is functioning.
Otto: You can loop that back in.
Duane: That is correct. If you have any kind of a failure with your gas chromatograph, now you really have somewhat of a check and balance that would now indicate you need to send someone out to actually look at your gas chromatograph to ensure that it is up to date. Everything is working according to what would have been designed in that facility.
Russel: I want to come at this a slightly different direction. You guys are talking about research being done by a lot of different entities. Where’s clearing house for all of this stuff related to hydrogen? If if somebody wanted to get educated, where’s the clearing house?
Otto: I think there’s this publication made at various locations, various conferences, but a lot of it is ongoing, but currently EFI, PRCI already has some white papers out on what we are doing and the way we are looking at blending in gas streams.
The European pipeline issues group is working also on a white paper, which is more looking at how do we repurpose existing lines and how to go forward with it? Also with things like if we have a line on hydrogen, and you’re using option B, which is basically the best option if you want to maximize the capacity of a line, how should you go forward with things like pressure and pressure balancing and pressure cycling off your mind? That’s going forward.
We are also in contact with Australians. The Australian Pipeline Gas Association has a future fuels research cooperation. They are on the brink of also publishing a white paper on how to integrate hydrogen into their existing gas standards.
We are all in touch with each other. In June, there is an emerging fuels symposium in Orlando, where all parties will meet and exchange their knowledge. We will have workshops on things like full scale testing.
Another thing that also comes into play when a lot of hydrogen will be generated from natural gas, you need to put your carbon dioxide somewhere. CO2 pipelines is also a topic discussed at a symposium.
We try to have contracts about every two to three months with let’s say the top of the American European and a failing research group to see where everybody is going to align the research that we don’t do things two times the same thing, only if it’s needed because sometimes you need more tests to validate things and also have exchanges on, “OK, what are your ideas?”
We have topic specific meetings with the experts from around the world to align this, because what I said, the industry is going fast forward with hydrogen. It’s a challenge for the transmission companies to keep up with that.
Russel: That’s certainly true. Our industry, we don’t move fast. We don’t do change quickly. That’s for good reason. That’s the way that we have to understand it before we can manage the safety aspects of anything we’re doing differently. You have to understand all those changes and differences.
This is a difficult question to ask just because I’m having a hard time framing it. There’s a real challenge, because these operating companies need to have policies and procedures all the way down to the technician level, and that’s got to be comprehensive throughout how they’re running a pipeline system.
The minute you inject hydrogen, you’re changing that whole rubric. You’re changing the corporate understanding of how the pipeline operates and what are the operating risks.
Otto: Absolutely. That’s a big challenge. That’s the challenge we are now starting within our company. As an example, in January or February of this year, we performed a full scale, in-service welding, hot tapping, and stopping operation on a 20 inch line. This line was filled with 100 percent hydrogen at pressure.
It was one thing. It together took about a year of planning, but now we’re in the reporting stage. That’s phase one. Then you get your report finished, the next stage will be which procedures in operation are all touched by this change of operation. We’re changing to hydrogen. That means we got to use nitrogen as steps in between. That’s not a standard operation.
In order to safely disperse off your hydrogen, we need a blowdown stack at the tapping location. We do an in service welding and hot tapping. We additionally need a safe blowdown stack to go along with it. How is that organized? Where can we get those stacks? Are these stacks up to the task? Do we need to flare instead of blow down because hydrogen is also a greenhouse gas?
That’s just from this experiment. We’re working on, let’s say, the full scale of operations, technical procedures, work instructions. How are these all touched by changing to hydrogen? That’s an incredible amount of work. That’s a big thing. Every part of the organization is now looking at that and thinking, “How am I going to get the man hours to get this done?”
Russel: Just to manage, just to develop all of the knowledge I need to implement the change, much less implement the change.
Otto: It’s not just getting the knowledge. Getting the knowledge is one thing. Then getting this knowledge into the way you are working, that’s the challenge.
Russel: I’m with you. So very true. Duane, I want to come back to you because as I’m listening to Otto, I’m still having this conversation about the radical difference in speed of sound between hydrogen and natural gas. What is the impact on an ultrasonic meter as you have higher and higher concentrations of hydrogen? What is it going to do to its performance and accuracy?
Duane: Great question, Russel. There’s a term that is referred to called the sound load. That is really going into acoustic basics. Taking and looking at just the acoustic sound of what you’re looking at is how hydrogen moves through your gas pipeline and through your meter versus natural gas.
A challenge that we have really is as the hydrogen content increases, we’ve talked about the speed of sound increases. Another piece of that, as the speed of sound increases, the sound lobe increases.
That sound lobe really is the challenge for us of trying to send that speed of sound signal, trying to find out how fast the gas is moving, and for us to accurately track that as that sound lobe increases. What that does from a measurement perspective is it gives us some challenge with line size limitations.
As you heard Otto talking about pipeline diameter sizes, for us, whenever we’re looking at effectively and accurately measuring hydrogen inside a meter, a metering facility, there is some limitations that we’ve not really had as it’s related to natural gas. It really is dictated more by that sound lobe.
For us to be able to accurately measure that, we need to then really assess what impact is going on in that specific meter, because we’ve been challenged in measurement really for decades about noise, in mitigating noise and reducing any impact of noise inside our meter runs.
From an acoustic sound lobe perspective, the gas that’s going through the meter has a completely different characteristic about it at times. For us looking at that, we need to be able to effectively manage that and know what types of impacts we could encounter based on our meter run sizes and diameters.
That’s something that we encourage customers, as they move forward with hydrogen in their facilities, to really look at those facilities and assess, are you talking about the two to three percent? Are you talking 5 percent, 10 percent? Some companies are going all the way up to even 20 to 30 percent hydrogen, and then other folks are talking about 100 percent hydrogen.
Russel: You’re saying sound lobe, L O B?
Duane: L O B E.
Russel: Sound lobe.
Russel: Explain to me what sound lobe is. Can you give me a definition of that?
Duane: The sound lobe is really the characteristics, if you’re taking and looking at a wave pattern of natural gas, a wave pattern of natural gas has…
Russel: It’d be equivalent to like a phase curve for a fluid.
Duane: That would be correct.
Russel: This is a sound curve…
Duane: It’s a sound curve of what natural gas looks like going through a meter versus what hydrogen looks like going through a meter.
Russel: The other question I have is, just using an extreme case, if I’m on a 100 percent hydrogen meter and I’m moving the same energy amount as I was moving in natural gas, that means I’m tripling the velocity of the fluid, which is effectively a nine fold multiple in speed of sound that I’m looking at, and then I guess I’ve got to make sure that my transmitters can pulse frequently enough to be able to get a meaningful measurement.
Duane: That’s right. Your speed of sound is always going to be three times higher than natural gas. The speed of sound is going to be three times higher, but the velocity that you’re needing to move that amount of gas to deliver the same energy content that you had with natural gas, that velocity is going to have to increase.
Russel: Because I’m operating in that completely different range of sound, then everything that I’ve learned about natural gas, I now have to learn those things about hydrogen.
Duane: You have to learn those things about hydrogen. That is absolutely the case.
Russel: Wow. Gentlemen, my takeaway from this whole conversation is there’s a whole lot to learn about hydrogen. That’s my takeaway.
Duane: That is the one positive, Russel, I will say, that I’ve seen more collaboration that has gone on today between the US and Europe and the world with great collaboration and great sharing of information for us to learn from each other.
For us here in the US, we are learning from Europe in the work that Otto and that team is doing from pipeline research and at the same, from natural gas measurement, hydrogen measurement, and blended measurement.
Russel: Otto, if you could, I apologize I’m forgetting the standard that you’re citing, but option two, what’s the best paper to find to understand how to apply option two for hydrogen?
Otto: If you look at the option B of ASME B31.12, there was a good publication last year by Sandia Laboratories from ASME PVP, which gave an updated fatigue crack growth curve where you can account for the partial pressure. That’s important if you are blending. It can account for the loading ratio, so the differences in pressure you see and over what time.
That’s one of the perfect last examples. The nice thing is, in the large German research that was performed where they did the 31 pipeline steels and wells and all in all, you can see the support for the Sandia curve. What you see is that this curve that Sandia established, this fatigue crack growth curve, the data from the German research all fall under the same curve.
With that, you can see, as I stated before, a general behavior, a fatigue crack growth behavior for pipeline steels which is covered by these curves. There’s some exceptions as always. The curves were established with materials, let’s say, with not including vintage electric resistance welds.
In the United States, you’ve got electric resistance welded pipes where the welds did not receive heat treatment. Those welds have not been tested yet. Those data have not been published yet. That’s an area where I’ve got my, let’s say, reserves on whether or not they will meet those fatigue crack growth curves or they will have a larger fatigue.
Also, the toughness of these materials, that has to be looked after. The German materials, all pipeline steels met the minimum toughness requirements as given in ASME B31.12 regardless of vintage.
With that, also looking at an option B or repurposing a line, there is a statement in the ASME B31.12 which says when you’re going to repurpose an existing line, you’ve got to do a dig up every mile, take a sample of your material, and test it.
I think the German project proves, with 31 different materials, that this is not really necessary. You could say we’ve got sufficient data.
Only if you don’t know enough about your line or if you’ve got, let’s say, doubts about exact characteristics of your seam welds, then you need to verify then you need to do those digups, but when you’ve got your records in order and you know all about your line, there’s no need to do these dig ups but that’s my personal take away.
What is also important when you are going to transport hydrogen or a blend, in order to do your option B assessment, you need to have knowledge about initial defect sizes in your seam welds and in your good welds, so that’s also something that’s necessary to make this option be possible.
You can, of course, take let’s say, conservative assumptions, which is also a possibility, but you can also base it on knowledge of what what ordered and it’s also something that we’ve worked out with the German authorities a guideline on how to do these calculations, how to do the assessment to get an initial defect size, and yet it needs to be tuned, refined.
What we found is that if you do those calculations and you limit your precious cycling, your line can easily be used for 100 years or more. Yes, there is fatigue crack growth. Yes, there’s a reduction in toughness, but not all materials behave the same, because what you see is that Chris San Marchi of Sandia Laboratories has a nice way of saying, he says, “Hydrogen is too big an equalizer when it comes to toughness.”
You see high toughness materials dropping off to a low toughness, but you also see that low toughness materials keep their low toughness.
They don’t drop any further. It’s also found in his German research that, yes, when you have a high initial toughness in hydrogen, the toughness will drop significantly, but when you have an initial low toughness, the toughness might drop a little but not as much as the height of this material.
There is no, let’s say, knock down factor general on toughness when it comes to behavior in air, gas, or in hydrogen, which is also a big takeaway, because there’s a lot of concerns of course with low toughness lines all around the world.
Russel: Yeah, absolutely. You guys are passing on a lot of information. I feel like I’ve got a huge homework project to go find some of this research and this white papers and read all of that. What we’ll certainly do is we build a web page for every episode, and we do a list of show notes.
We’ll work with you guys, and you will link up some of the key reference materials and such. I think my summary of this would be that there’s a lot of information out there. It’s not made its way into the standards, but there’s enough information out there that you can take an assessment of what you have is your pipe of what data you have about your pipe, compare it to the research, and that’s a real good place to start.
Otto: I think you have to be reassured that a lot of work is going on to get the work we are doing now into the standards as soon as possible, because they also need to move. They also need to be updated. There’s a lot of effort going on worldwide to get those standards up to speed with the knowledge we have at the moment.
Russel: Awesome. Gentlemen, I sure appreciate your time. It’s been a lot of information, and I’m sure it’ll be really valuable to folks that are trying to figure out how to navigate the new hydrogen reality.
Russel: Hope you enjoy this week’s episode of The Pipeliners Podcast in our conversation with Otto and Duane. Just reminder before you go you should register to win our customized Pipeliners Podcast YETI tumbler. Simply visit PipelinePodcastNetwork.com/Win and enter yourself in the drawing.
If you have ideas and questions or topics you’d be interested in, please let me know either on the Contact Us page in PipelinePodcastNetwork.com or reach out to me on LinkedIn. Thanks for listening. Talk to you next week.
Transcription by CastingWords