Hydrogen-Compatible Maxitrol Products

Hydrogen-Compatible Maxitrol Products

Governments worldwide are committed to reducing C02 emissions. So what energy source is seen as a viable alter­native to fossil fuels? Hydrogen is being tested as a potential “green” replacement for natural gas. Today, many utilities with financial backing from their govern­ments are testing and planning to introduce hydrogen into the existing natural gas infra­structure. According to testing conducted through Marcogaz (The technical associ­ation of the European Natural Gas Industry), there is a general consensus among gas suppliers and experts about the use of hydrogen/gas mixtures:

  • Major elements of the existing gas infra­structure and residential appli­ances are expected to be able to blend 10 % hydrogen into natural gas without modification.
  • Some networks and residential appli­ances are already being operated with a blend of 20 % hydrogen.
  • Major elements of the gas infra­structure and residential appli­ances are expected to be able to blend 30 % hydrogen into natural gas with modifi­ca­tions. Even higher percentage concen­tra­tions can be reached through research and devel­opment or replacement of elements of the infrastructure.

Large invest­ments are being made by the govern­ments in North America, UK, Germany, and other countries to test the viability of hydrogen as an alter­native to natural gas. There are planned test sites in both the UK and Germany where residences will be serviced with 100 % hydrogen. At this time, there is no specific dates available for when these sites will be built.

There are many challenges in imple­menting hydrogen as a replacement for natural gas. How to supply enough hydrogen to the existing natural gas infra­structure is one, and there is no known mechanism for moving hydrogen, which is much lighter than methane or natural gas, around the existing gas infra­structure. Some industry experts in the UK estimate that hydrogen is three times as expensive as natural gas. Hydrogen is also about 9 times more explosive than natural gas.

Implementing a network of hydrogen/gas mixtures will not be easy. It will take time and signif­icant investment to become a reality. International safety standards will need to be written for controls and appli­ances to address the use of hydrogen.* Most people involved in the gas industry believe a hydrogen/gas mixture is more realistic than 100 % hydrogen. How do we believe this devel­opment will affect Maxitrol? The good news is, based on our own testing and testing by third parties, Maxitrol products will operate with hydrogen/gas mixtures or even 100 % hydrogen. Maxitrol is well positioned for the future, including a future that will have some measure of hydrogen enriched natural gas.

* Until national and inter­na­tional standards address the use of hydrogen and hydrogen/gas mixtures, it is the respon­si­bility of the appliance manufac­turer and/or installer to determine suitability.