Increasing demand for alternatives to hydrocarbon fuels enable a fast ramp up of the hydrogen economy. Energy supply, the transportation sector and heavy industry like steel makers and others are looking forward to include more use cases for hydrogen in their value chains to minimize greenhouse gas emissions.
Today’s energy grid and in particular the available pipeline network will play a major role in this transition to net zero to connect supply and demand. No pipeline is the same and owners, operators and integrity engineers need to ensure that they understand and manage the integrity of the asset. Traceable, verifiable and complete (TVC) manufacturing and construction records as well as a thorough understanding of the anomaly population in the asset are fundamental parts of integrity management.
State of the art inspection technologies support the pipeline industry to manage threats like deformation, metal loss, inadequate material properties and cracking with a variety of solutions. This service portfolio will also be a key component for repurposing pipelines from natural gas to hydrogen under existing regulations and guidelines including ASME B31.12. Furthermore, the solutions need to be able to inspect future hydrogen assets with the same or even better performance than today. With the potential repurposing to hydrogen of existing natural gas assets, the deterioration processes on pipeline steels needs to be understood.
This paper provides a discussion of the process used to assess, characterize and size flaws in gas pipelines and highlights the advantages and disadvantages of inline inspection compared to hydrostatic tests. It will summarize the requirements of a hydrogen environment to state of the art inspection solutions and focus on the necessary measures to inspect larger diameter pipelines in 100% hydrogen in the future.