RR1169 - Hydrogen in the natural gas distribution network: Preliminary analysis of gas release and dispersion behaviour

Hydrogen has the potential to be used as part of decarbonising the future energy system. Hydrogen can be used as a fuel ‘vector’ to store and transport low-carbon energy.

Several UK projects are investigating the potential use of the existing natural gas transmission and distribution network to transport either hydrogen, or blends of hydrogen and natural gas, from production or storage sites to domestic or commercial appliances, such as boilers, cookers, fires and ranges. Mathematical modelling is important to inform risk assessments to ensure that levels of safety for the public are maintained.

This report describes preliminary mathematical modelling of potential leaks from gas network assets such as valves and pipes when hydrogen, or hydrogen blends are transported or used. The research considers the potential impact of leak rates and the dispersion behaviour of the gas. It uses published information from laboratory-scale experiments.

A modelling case study is presented to show how this might affect a commonly-used UK gas industry procedure for leak tightness testing. This research will be of interest to risk assessment specialists in the gas industry.

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Updated 2022-05-05