The HyBlend initiative aims to address technical barriers to blending hydrogen in natural gas pipelines. Key aspects of HyBlend include materials compatibility R&D, techno-economic analysis, and life cycle analysis that will inform the development of publicly accessible tools that characterize the opportunities, costs, and risks of blending. This effort supports DOE's H2@Scale vision for clean hydrogen use across multiple sectors in the economy.
The United States has an extensive network of approximately three million miles of natural gas pipelines and more than 1,600 miles of dedicated hydrogen pipeline. Hydrogen produced through clean pathways can be injected into natural gas pipelines, and the resulting blends can be used to generate heat and power with lower emissions than using natural gas alone.
Blend limits depend on the design and condition of current pipeline materials, of pipeline infrastructure equipment, and of applications that utilize natural gas. The HyBlend team will test pipeline materials in varying concentrations of hydrogen at pressures up to 100 bar to assess their susceptibility to hydrogen effects.
Key deliverables will include:
- A publicly accessible tool that characterizes the costs of blending and its potential to reduce emissions relative to alternative pathways (e.g., renewable natural gas).
- A publicly accessible tool that assesses the risks of blending to a pipeline system given the materials in use, age of the system, and blend concentration.
DOE's Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (HFTO) launched the HyBlend collaboration in 2021 and will coordinate related work through the DOE Hydrogen Program. R&D projects within the collaboration are primarily being conducted by the National Laboratory team—led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)—with the participation of more than 30 partners in industry, nonprofits, and academia. HFTO will collaborate with the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, the Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office, the Building Technologies Office, and other relevant offices and agencies on RD&D topics relevant to HyBlend.
Related R&D Activities
H-Mat: A National Laboratory consortium, co-led by Sandia National Laboratories and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, conducting cross-cutting R&D on the compatibility of metallic and polymer materials for hydrogen service. H-Mat labs have conducted significant prior R&D on materials for hydrogen pipelines, in collaboration with the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
ARIES: NREL's research platform designed to de-risk, optimize, and secure current energy systems and to provide insight into the design and operation of future energy systems. This spans hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, including electrolyzers and infrastructure components.
GREET: A model developed and annually updated by Argonne National Laboratory to depict life cycle emissions of hundreds of fuel pathways. GREET has over 40,000 users worldwide.
Key Publications and Outreach
Hydrogen Blending into Natural Gas Pipeline Infrastructure: Review of the State of Technology, National Renewable Energy Laboratory Technical Report (2022)
Design and Operation of Metallic Pipelines for Service in Hydrogen and Blends, Webinar led by Sandia National Laboratories (2022)