By Henry Cialone
President & CEO, EWI
I got pretty excited a year or so ago talking about the “new” hydrogen economy, but noted at that time that delivery likely would be the primary challenge to such an economy taking hold.
Since then, it has become clear that part of the response to addressing this challenge will be to retrofit sections of the existing natural gas pipeline network for hydrogen service, which potentially could include inspection, repair, characterization of the pipe material’s hydrogen compatibility, and/or modifications of operating parameters. That’s something EWI and others are beginning to explore.
Retrofitting legacy pipelines, however, won’t work in all instances given hydrogen’s particular properties — properties that simply weren’t taken into consideration when these older pipelines were qualified for natural gas.
So, the other part of the response to the delivery challenge will be to replace certain pipelines (or pipeline sections) with new infrastructure . Additionally, there will be a need to build new transport and distribution lines to accommodate both production sites and large-scale industrial clients making the change from natural gas to hydrogen.
What’s EWI’s role on the “new pipe” front? Let me tell you a little bit about what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and what we ultimately hope to accomplish….
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