Abstract

The introduction of hydrogen or synthetic natural gas produced from renewable electricity into gas pipelines is being considered to enable decarbonization and energy storage. Prior published studies show that hydrogen concentrations over 20–30% are likely to require significant infrastructure modifications and that significant concentrations of hydrogen will decrease energy transport capacity and/or reduce transport efficiency due to higher compression work. A comparative analysis of four power-to-gas implementations utilizing alkaline electrolysis, steam methane reforming, and catalytic methanation at hydrogen concentrations from 0–100% is performed in order to quantify production and transport power requirements utilizing pipeline or electrical transport. The pipeline transport analysis evaluates the pipeline transport capacity, efficiency, and emissions at various hydrogen concentrations and their sensitivity to pipeline diameter and compressor station spacing. The results show that production costs for hydrogen and synthetic natural gas dominate the overall energy requirement, requiring more power to create product than will be delivered for end use. Pipeline transport power requirements also increase by a maximum factor of 6–8 depending on surface roughness at high hydrogen percentages, but pipeline transport losses are less than electrical transmission losses in all cases. The increased pipeline compression power increases CO2 emissions along the pipeline up to a peak value of 240% relative to pure methane at a mole fraction of 65% hydrogen, above which CO2 emissions reduce. An analysis of pipeline compression conditions shows that flow requirements for all cases exceed the capabilities of reciprocating compressors but are mostly within the capabilities of centrifugal compressors, although multiple bodies may be required at hydrogen concentrations exceeding approximately 40–85%.

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