Hydrogen Testing Facilities at TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory

How TÜV SÜD are helping to address technical challenges

As part of the global drive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions there is a pressing need to move towards clean fuels for energy. The use of hydrogen as a replacement for natural gas in the gas grid networks is seen as a major contributor to meeting this objective. Manufacturers, gas network companies and governments are working closely together to address a number of technical challenges before this change can become a reality. TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory is a world-leading centre for flow metrology research and development. To help address those challenges, it’s building a range of hydrogen tests facilities. These facilities include the Hydrogen Domestic Gas Metering Test Facility, developed for testing smaller scale equipment at lower pressures, coupled with the development of a gas primary flow standard test facility, which provides lower measurement uncertainty and greater options for fundamental metrology research, as well as higher hydrogen flow rate and pressure ranges. This article describes the existing hydrogen test facilities and those under development at TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory.

The hydrogen domestic gas metering test facility has been developed to provide a platform to investigate not only the performance of flow meters, but also for other equipment related to hydrogen operation, including control valves, PRVs, regulators, heat exchangers, etc. in a hydrogen service. The test facility has been developed for small scale applications and can deliver a range of gas flows including hydrogen, methane, nitrogen or mixtures of hydrogen and methane. The test facility is capable of delivering up to 38 Sm3/h of hydrogen to the device under test at line pressures up to 1500 mbar, with temperatures ranging from -25 to 55 ˚C. It can operate with line sizes ranging from 5 to 20 mm. Construction was completed last year and it is now available for use by industry for product development or flow testing of hydrogen equipment and valves.

The switch over from natural gas to hydrogen may take place in a staged approach involving hydrogen/natural gas blends or direct switch to pure hydrogen. Manufacturers can carry out a complete assessment of equipment performance across a range of hydrogen to natural gas compositions from 0 to 100% hydrogen. 

The hydrogen domestic gas metering test facility has been specifically designed for low-pressure hydrogen applications and TÜV SÜD recognised that there was also a need for a larger flow, higher pressure test facility. TÜV SÜD has undertaken a project under the BEIS-funded Flow Programme to establish a Gas Primary Flow Standard Test Facility. Initially, it will operate with hydrogen, nitrogen and methane but with a view to be extended to carbon dioxide. The facility is currently in the detailed design stage and the plan is to have an operating envelope of up to 100 Sm3/hr of gas with the ability to operate up to 120 bar.

For more information on how TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory can help with your valve flow testing needs, contact Marc MacDonald on marc.macdonald@tuvsud.com

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