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Hydrogen in the Gas Industry

The gas industry is interested in hydrogen because of dwindling gas reserves and the need to limit emissions of CO2 to meet target reductions in greenhouse gases. One way of possibly incorporating hydrogen would be adding it to natural gas and distributing it in the existing infrastructure. Studies performed for the International Gas Union (IGU)[11] indicate that replacing 10%v/v of a Natural Gas supply stream with hydrogen reduces CO2 emissions by 3%.

This small CO2 reduction compared to the volumetric amount of hydrogen added is due to the low density and low calorific value of hydrogen. The NATURALHY study[12], however, suggests CO2 reductions of up to 15% could be achieved with hydrogen gas addition up to 50%v/v.

It is useful to consider the effects of adding increasing quantities of hydrogen to natural gas. These include:

  • Effect on net and gross calorific value - hydrogen decreases the calorific value of natural gas/H2 admixtures
  • Effect on Wobbe number - hydrogen very slightly decreases the Wobbe number of natural gas/H2 admixtures (up until ~70%) (although it may not be outside regulatory agreements in some European countries)
  • Effect on ignition properties/knock propensity - hydrogen decreases the 'knock tendency' of natural gas/H2 admixtures
  • Burning velocity - the burning velocity of natural gas/H2 admixtures increases with H2 addition up to 30%


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