Accelerating the Hydrogen Revolution

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Sustainability

Jim Cahill

Jim Cahill

Chief Blogger, Social Marketing Leader

At the 2024 Emerson Exchange in Düsseldorf, Germany, a panel of experts assembled to discuss How to accelerate the hydrogen revolution for the process industries with changing legislation and approval processes. This topic is exciting and hotly debated, as hydrogen is regarded as the “fuel of the future.” The leading question is how to accelerate the adoption of this technology.

Here is the session abstract:

The production, transportation and end use of hydrogen to cope in a sustainable way to the global energy demand is growing, and it is growing fast. How can we support such a growth in a secure and efficient way without clear and effective guidelines and standards? How can the industry enable and speed up the process? Those questions will be answered by a panel consisting of representatives from Industry End Users (Shell and Regaz), the International Oil & Gas Association (IOGP) and Bureau Veritas.

Hydrogen production from electrolysis

The panel began by tackling a question about what makes the hydrogen industry unique. Hydrogen has been around in the refining industry for decades, so much experience exists. The challenge is that hydrogen needs to be compressed to a much higher level. Hydrogen, a timing molecule, is difficult to compress and liquefy at much lower temperatures, which is required in many cases for the transportation involved.

A standard does not currently exist for the equipment required to transport hydrogen. Safety is paramount, and having standards to test against needs to be developed and put in place. Material compatibility is important with hydrogen stored and transported at high pressures. It’s not only the piping but also the joints between segments.

Leakage detection is a critical piece of what is required for safe and effective operations. The public must be part of the discussion to ensure the infrastructure required can move forward. Similar to oil & gas and the API standards, comparable standards are needed. Still, they are down to final control elements to isolate and control varieties of hydrogen applications, gaseous, and liquids.

However, lessons are available from its current use. ASME material standards exist for hydrogen. Molecular hydrogen is much less corrosive than atomic Hydrogen (H2 vs. H). Standardization comes in many areas—regulations for safety and industry standards like API. As technology becomes field-proven, standards can emerge for interfaces.

From the challenges, they turned to ways these challenges are being addressed. Research and testing are going on to take produced hydrogen and do testing and gain feedback on what materials are working best, leakage detection techniques, and training for the staff personnel to understand what is required from an operations and maintenance perspective.

As a global supplier, Emerson can bring the experience of who is doing what, what is working, and what experience should feed the standards development process. Testing agencies are the bridge between the supplier and the end user to deliver what will be safe and effective to implement—active participation of subject matter experts from suppliers and end users to advance these standards.

One example is where a liquid hydrogen ship was built to transport hydrogen between continents. The lessons learned will lead to standards. Emerson’s role can turn a functional specification into technologies to address the challenges in meeting the specification.

The energy transition will lead to new businesses overturning the status quo of the existing hydrocarbon-based energy world.

A question from the audience asked how the piping would need to change. Much work has been done in assessing which pipelines will be capable and which will not. More work will be required on the monitoring to make sure it’s transported safely.

It’s essential to consider the two primary use cases—transportation and distribution- and how natural gas distribution drove the cases for other uses.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.

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