SGN to verify hydrogen readiness of GB gas network

SGN to verify hydrogen readiness of GB gas network
Faris Churcher (c.) with Gemma Simpson and James Heywood (SGN). Image: SGN

SGN has selected flow control solutions specialist Oxford Flow to help prove the hydrogen readiness of the existing gas network infrastructure.

Oxford Flow will provide its IM-S hydrogen-ready gas pressure regulators to stress test decommissioned gas pipelines with 100% hydrogen as part of the ‘LTS Futures’ project.

The tests will take place at DNV’s research and testing facility in Spadeadam in Cumbria later this year.

“Using Oxford Flow’s valves and regulators will help establish a hydrogen-ready solution for pressure regulating equipment,” says Gemma Simpson, SGN’s director of LTS Futures.

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“They will not only future proof our systems by being hydrogen ready and tested, but also by removing leak points common in valves to reduce emissions.”

The IM-S regulators are wafer type without a diaphragm to make them both smaller and lighter than natural gas equivalents and have been verified for hydrogen blends and up to 100% hydrogen.

Faris Churcher, business lead Gas and Energy Transition, at Oxford Flow, says that the focus has been primarily on the ability of the pipelines to transport hydrogen but they are not the only infrastructure that needs consideration.

“Our role in this project involves testing existing regulators and comparing them to our hydrogen-ready solution, to support SGN in making recommendations about critical infrastructure and its suitability for hydrogen blending or pure hydrogen transportation.”

The test results should inform the next stage of the LTS Futures project, which is planned to repurpose and demonstrate the use of decommissioned pipeline for hydrogen transmission next year.

LTS Futures

Britain’s local gas transmission system (LTS) is the infrastructure connecting towns and cities to the national transmission system and is around 11,000km in extent.

It serves for both gas storage and for the delivery of gas directly to industry and into the gas distribution networks for use in homes and businesses.

SGN was awarded the LTS Futures project in April 2022 with £29.9 million (US$37.5 million) funding by Ofgem as a three-year initiative to test and repurpose a decommissioned pipeline in Grangemouth in Scotland for pure hydrogen.

Grangemouth, to the northwest of Edinburgh, is one of Britain’s largest industrial clusters and could be a key location for hydrogen production.

The pipeline is considered statistically representative of Britain’s LTS and so should provide the blueprint for repurposing all of the high pressure pipelines in the country’s network.

Subject to the results of the readiness tests, the live pipeline trial should take place during 2024.