There is little doubt that transportation of hydrogen blends is going to have a significant impact on the pipeline industry. For years, operators have looked at meeting future energy demand using natural gas from traditional sources, domestic production, imported gas and LNG, however the landscape has now changed.
World-wide agreements are already in place to phase-out fossil fuels and develop new carbon neutral energy sources. Is the pipeline industry prepared for this transition?
Pipeline operators face many challenges during this transition, here are just some examples of the problems they will face:
- A blend of 25% hydrogen will reduce the heating value of the combined gas by more than 10%. That means that the volumetric demand will need to increase by at least 10% to meet current energy demand. Will the existing pipeline infrastructure cope with this increase?
- Pipeline controllers have many years of experience transporting natural gas. Their operational decisions are often based on this experience. The question “can we meet demand with compressor X out of service for four hours?” can no longer be answered with the same certainty.
- With multiple supplies of varying gas quality, and now the addition of hydrogen, how does an operator keep track of the blended gas quality to ensure customer delivery is ‘on-spec’?
A pipeline simulation model that is capable of accurately modelling different blends of hydrogen can be used as a powerful decision support tool. This tool can assist the pipeline operator in answering all these questions and many more.
This paper will demonstrate, using examples, how simulation tools can help operators prepare for the transition to green energy and what to look for when choosing a simulation package.