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AMBER partners with Gas Networks Ireland on hydrogen compatibility research

21 February 2024

AMBER and Gas Networks Ireland have joined forces to undertake important research to determine how compatible the materials that make up Ireland’s gas pipeline are with green hydrogen – an important first step for green hydrogen in the decarbonisation journey of Ireland’s gas network.

The research project “Material Testing and Development under Variable Hydrogen Ratios” is being carried out by scientists from AMBER – SFIs multi–University Centre for world class Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research, hosted at Trinity College Dublin – in conjunction with engineers from Gas Networks Ireland. With initial funding of €220,000 in the first year, the project has the potential to run for up to five years.

Speaking about the project which aims to explore the impact of green hydrogen blended with natural gas and biomethane, as well as pure green hydrogen has on existing materials within Ireland’s gas network, AMBER Principal Investigator, Associate Professor  Rocco Lupoi said:

Hydrogen is a much smaller and lighter molecule than those that make up natural gas and biomethane. This research will investigate the compatibility of transporting these smaller hydrogen molecules through the existing pipes and infrastructure – including materials such as polymers, rubbers and metals – that make up the gas network.  Identifying any components within the network that have a low compatibility with hydrogen – which may need to be replaced or adapted ensuring safety in transporting the green gas, is a key focus of the research.”

The EU is predicting that approximately 14% of energy consumption across Europe will be from hydrogen by 2050, and up to 20-35% of the total energy demand in the UK. Gas Networks Ireland is expecting that hydrogen will account for almost 3% of Ireland’s gas demand by 2032.

“With over 80% of the State’s natural gas requirements being met by gas imported from the UK, we are working to ensure that Ireland’s gas network is ready to transport hydrogen,” Gas Networks Ireland’s Head of Technical Development and Technical Training, Liam Nolan said.

“This research with AMBER is another step in our continued testing and research projects at our Network Innovation Centre, informing the continuous development of a detailed hydrogen technical and safety strategy – which is providing a road map for the transition to hydrogen, and the decarbonisation of Ireland’s gas network. Hydrogen will form part of the energy renewables mix that includes wind, solar and tidal energy as well as biomethane.”

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