Liberty Pipes Hartlepool becomes first UK producer of hydrogen pipeline material


Liberty Pipes Hartlepool has successfully passed trials to become the first UK producer of pipelines for safe transportation and storage of hydrogen.


Physical testing specialist Element Materials Technology confirmed that Liberty’s 42-inch submerged arc welded (SAW) line pipe meets international requirements for hydrogen piping and pipelines set by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in the standard ASME B31.12 (2019).


The demanding fracture mechanics testing loaded the weld, heat affected zone and pipe material to twice the required stress intensity and exposed them to a 100 barg hydrogen atmosphere for 1000 hours with no crack growth recorded.


Demand for SAW line pipes is rising rapidly as part of the expected need for significant quantities of new pipelines required in the UK over the next 20 years to meet the demands of the transition to Net Zero.


The UK Hydrogen Strategy announced in 2021 aims for 10GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030, aimed at bringing down emissions in UK industrial sectors and provide flexible energy for power, heat and transport.


Liberty Steel in Australia announced last month it has engaged global equipment suppliers for the installation of a 1.8Mtpa Direct Reduction Plant (DRP) at its Whyalla steelmaking operations to produce low carbon iron. The unit will initially use a mix of natural gas and green hydrogen as the reducing agent, before fully transitioning to green hydrogen as it becomes available at scale.


The successful SAW tests are an important step in Liberty Pipes Hartlepool’s development of a suite of hydrogen service fracture mechanics tests, including future quasi-static testing. The company will continue to work with Element Materials Technology to further extend its availability of pipes suitable for hydrogen.


The company has also developed line pipe steel capable of supporting the emerging market in carbon dioxide (CO2) gas gathering, transmission and sequestration.


Martin Connelly, Technical Director for Liberty Pipes Hartlepool, said: “Liberty is the first steel pipe producer in the UK and one of only a handful globally to confirm it can meet hydrogen standards. We see huge demand in this market and believe it positions us well in forthcoming tenders for several hydrogen service projects".


Martyn Curnow, Commercial Director for Liberty Pipes Hartlepool said: “The UK has a window of opportunity to be a world leader in low carbon hydrogen production and Liberty Pipes Hartlepool is eager to support this strategy.”





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