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Researchers share HyBlend Phase I results and progress at H2IQ Webinar

December 11, 2023 11:12 am Published by

Sandia hydrogen and metallurgy expert Chris San Marchi joined collaborators from other national labs for the Department of Energy Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office monthly H2IQ Hour in October. The researchers provided an overview of materials and analysis research conducted under the HyBlend initiative. The recorded webinar and slides are now available on the HFTO website.

Launched in 2020, HyBlend is a cooperative research and development project led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. As one of the project’s national laboratory partners, Sandia is helping the project to address the technical barriers to blending hydrogen in natural gas pipelines. In the United States, natural gas is primarily used to generate electricity and heat; natural gas usage in 2022 equaled about 33% of the nation’s primary energy consumption. Blending hydrogen into natural gas pipelines could be a cost-effective way to reduce emissions from natural gas service while offering benefits for energy storage and resiliency.

In Phase I, the national laboratories and partners from industry and academia investigated the compatibility of pipeline materials as well as the life cycle and techno-economics of blending hydrogen into natural gas transmission networks.

As part of Phase I, Sandia helped to provide the scientific basis and probabilistic tools to assess the structural integrity of pipelines exposed to hydrogen. This work involved developing the HELPR tool to analyze the structural integrity of characteristic natural gas infrastructure for the transmission and distribution of hydrogen natural gas blends in a probabilistic framework. Additionally, the Sandia team established a subscale pipe testing platform, which will allow the research team to test small-diameter pipes as surrogates for the large pipes used in pipelines. Through these developments—complemented by materials testing in gaseous hydrogen—the team is developing a more comprehensive and fundamental understanding of hydrogen-assisted fatigue and fracture on metal pipelines.   

Other Phase I results, focused on polymer R&D, techno-economic analysis, and life-cycle analysis, were reported by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, NREL, and Argonne National Laboratory.

The webinar also discussed Phase II plans of the project, which is currently open to new partners from industry, academia, and nonprofits. Among other benefits, partners receive access to national lab expertise and data generated by the labs for the cooperative effort. Planning for Phase II is currently underway — interested members of the public, academia, and industry are invited to contact HyBlend_CRADA@nrel.gov for more details.

A previous, related webinar provides information on the Design and Operation of Metallic Pipelines for Service in Hydrogen and Blends.