Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania and parent company NiSource are advancing one of the country’s first controlled-setting hydrogen blending projects in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. The project is testing the viability of hydrogen-natural gas blends at various levels to study potential consumer benefits and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
The initiative, located at Columbia Gas’ training center in Center Township, includes a hydrogen blending skid allowing for precise monitoring. Here, the company can assess each blend’s impact on emissions, equipment, piping and natural gas itself.
To evaluate how blending hydrogen into the company’s existing natural gas system may help decarbonize pipelines, NiSource built a small model home equipped with gas appliances like a stove, furnace, washer and dryer.
Erich Evans, director of corporate strategy and risk integration for NiSource, said a 20% hydrogen blend appears to be the highest percentage most home appliances can manage without a notable decline in function. At 20%, Evans said, studies show no performance reductions for end users – water boils at about the same rate and clothes dry in the same amount of time. The only noticeable differences, so far, are slightly lighter stove flame colors and quieter furnaces, he said.
Based on the results and data collected, future phases of the program could include the introduction of a hydrogen blend into a live-gas environment using the company’s existing gas distribution infrastructure.
The Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania and NiSource hydrogen blending project is a promising step towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the natural gas industry. The project is still in its early stages, but the results so far have been encouraging. If the project is successful, it could lead to the widespread adoption of hydrogen blending, which would have a significant impact on the global energy landscape.