The move to introduce hydrogen as the predominant industrial energy is starting to stimulate major change in the pipeline industry. Plans are accelerating to develop hydrogen backbone grids connecting industrial centres across the UK, Europe and India by 2030. Pipelines are the essential long-term infrastructure to supply of energy to industrial clusters and heavy goods transport centres.
This presents an opportunity to rethink pipelines to take on board the learning of the past 50 years and develop infrastructure for the next 100 years. Investing now in design and new technology can avoid pipelines being the weakest link and substantially reduce the cost of pipeline ownership in the medium and long term.
Hydrogen as the primary fuel for industry and heavy transport is the pivotal change needed to enable decarbonisation and stop greenhouse gas emissions. However, having a pipeline system that safely accommodates fuel switching and operates reliably over its design life, is a global challenge for pipeline integrity engineers.
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