Welcome to the second delivery of our hydrogen embrittlement series. In this follow-up piece, our talk with Materials Testing Institute’s expert Brian Kagay turns to a new topic that complements part I’s basics of H2 embrittlement and its effects on valves. Here, the focus is on the causes behind valve embrittlement by H2. We also go over the enabling factors, how they impact the welding process, and the ways to spot affected materials.
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Germany is hard at work on becoming a decarbonized region. The country found a scalable solution in hydrogen that favors all parts—the environment, citizens, and industries. To get the H2 initiative started, the government, with the help of the scientific community, is developing several macro projects. The first phase focuses on blended operations that lead to the controlled addition of hydrogen into the existing natural gas grid infrastructure.
Under such a novel context, it is natural to inquire about the potential implications of gas blending. How can the addition of hydrogen affect the existing systems? Is hydrogen embrittlement of materials a possibility? What are the causes? How to prevent it? These are rather important questions raised by plant operators. So, as valve manufacturers, AS-Schneider felt committed to taking action and finding answers. We sent our team to a one-on-one meeting with specialist Dr. Brian Kagay. His work in the prestigious Materials Testing Institute at the University of Stuttgart qualifies him as an expert in this subject. If you are a plant operator, you don’t want to miss out on what he had to say.
The cease of natural gas imports from Russia forced Germany to switch from energy providers. Since then, Norway has grabbed the number one spot as the main supplier. To secure reliable gas transfer and distribution, all facilities within the circuit must be at peak capacity. One of those facilities is a Gassco plant located in northern Germany. The revamped Emden natural gas terminal kicked off operations in 2016 with the operative premise of providing an availability delivery rate above 99%. Since the start-up the plant did not reach its potential due to a leakage problem at the shut-off valves. Together with the customer, we set about working out a solution to achieve the high requirement of 99% availability. Here’s how we helped Gassco get to the promised target.
One of the things that I enjoy the most about my job is discussing new improvement opportunities with clients. Situations like that push me to engineer viable solutions that solve operational setbacks, so they can enjoy more reliability and safety at work. And that was what happened when I designed the practical test installation procedure I’m about to share. It was for a double block and bleed (DBB) ball valve installed in a gas storage facility.
We are about to enter a new industrial age. The age of blended gaseous fuels! Blended fuels generate when mixing hydrogen with natural gas in the existing grid. Above everything, blending is an urgent trend seeking to speed up the current decarbonization plans to stop climate change. To bring context to today’s status, we have gone on a detailed research and compiled relevant information from different external sources that comes in handy to prepare for the blending future now.
The adoption of smart maintenance practices is a leading strategy in the process industry. In new plants or recently modernized facilities, it seeks to reduce asset downtime, improve safety, and create a preventive culture among operators and maintainers. Still, plant engineers often lack access to a clean and digitized process database set for this purpose. How to make amends? Challenging suppliers in the delivery of readied structured data is essential to change the path. So, I’m going to guide you on how to get the most from your supplier in this matter. An early hint: It involves standard VDI 2770.