Hydrogen can become an important link in the energy supply of the future. Green hydrogen is a sustainable option as raw material and energy carrier. If we can also use the existing infrastructure for natural gas to transport and store hydrogen, this could yield enormous benefits.
On 22 and 23 October, KIWA (a renown Dutch testing-, inspection- and certification company) was commissioned by Netbeheer Nederland (association of Dutch grid operators) to investigate whether existing gas pressure regulation stations for natural gas are suitable for the use of 100% hydrogen. The Dutch grid operator Rendo made a regular gas pressure regulating station available for this test. Among other things, this gas pressure regulation station had an RS350S DN50 regulator from Wigersma & Sikkema built in. In addition, the pressure regulator station was equipped with the BMA and BDA system couplings to connect the PLEXOR inspection system. Furthermore, a UNIGAS 300 electronic volume converter from Wigersma & Sikkema was used in the test set-up to measure and record pressure, temperature and flow. For several tests, the PLEXOR inspection system, put at disposal by Wigersma & Sikkema, was used.
By means of practical tests, insight was gained into the operation and suitability of a gas pressure regulation station if, instead of natural gas, hydrogen is used.
Specifically, the following aspects were investigated, both with natural gas (Lgas) and with 100% hydrogen:
- the external leak-tightness of the gas pressure regulator station when using hydrogen;
- the correct functioning of the components when using hydrogen;
- the internal passage of the valves and safety devices;
- the operation of the safety devices;
- the operation and control behaviour of the regulator.
The conclusion is that the gas pressure regulating station designed for natural gas can be operated with 100% hydrogen without modification. All components of the pressure regulator station as well as all tools used such as UNIGAS 300 and the PLEXOR inspection system could be operated with 100% hydrogen without any problems.