Could hydrogen replace natural gas in power generation?

Energy is a topic that has been dominating the news this year. There has been lots of coverage of prices, supplies, and the risk of shortages. Attention is also on alternatives and ways to be less reliant on expensive, finite fossil fuels. As a leading provider of natural gas silencers and a team that supports many companies in the power generation sector, we want to have a look at the switch to hydrogen. It could be the biggest change in the industry in our lifetime, so is worth keeping an eye on.

Support for hydrogen

People have been exploring the use of hydrogen as an alternative to hydrocarbon fuels for decades. There was a big wave of support for it in the 2000s and again in the 2010s. There is even more focus on it today.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) in particular has been highlighting the potential for hydrogen. They see a lot of promise in green production. These include methods like electrolysis to produce the gas without creating any carbon. It does this by splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen.

The IEA believe green hydrogen could help countries to achieve climate goals and boost energy security. They say it could be especially useful for the heavy industry and long distance transport sectors.

A noise benefit

There is a very important noise benefit here too. Hydrogen can burn very quietly, especially when it contains little to no air. That can dramatically reduce the amount of noise pollution from power generation. It means less reliance on natural gas silencers as well as other products like PPE to address the noises.

Hydrogen projects

There are projects all around the world embracing hydrogen. For example, the EU is leading the way in moving to a scale industry here. They are planning to provide £5.13b to help with this. That will help to support the installation of dozens of electrolysers to provide renewable supplies.

Spain is one country that is dominating hydrogen. There are plans here to create a green hydrogen corridor to connect Northern and Southern Europe. This would boost supplies and support industrial development.

The UK is looking at the potential for converting natural gas infrastructure to carry H2. There will be trials in Lincolnshire to test injecting hydrogen into a gas-fired power station that is connected to the energy grid. The hope is that the H2 will reduce carbon intensity.

Re-purposing natural gas infrastructure is not a new idea either. There have been many studies in the past to look at it. The ACER even released a report in 2021 to look at the findings and see if there were conditions for it. In a very basic sense it could make it much cheaper and faster to move away from natural gas.

Germany is even mapping out what a future H2 grid would look like in the country using existing infrastructure. The estimate is that in total the grid would need 5,100km of pipes. If they were to re-purpose natural gas lines it could supply as much as 3,700km of them. That would save billions.

Speak to us about natural gas silencers

Ventx is a silencer specialist. We understand how noisy it can get in a number of different industries. Of them all power generation can be one of the loudest, whether it is exploring, refining, or producing energy. There can be a massive risk to people who work in the industry. It can even get loud and disruptive for people who live near processing stations, refineries, and pipelines. Noises from them can travel very long distances.

We can step in to provide solutions here. With our knowledge and acoustic experience, we supply reliable products like natural gas silencers. In addition, we offer ones for vents, safety valves, and more. So, if you need help with noise, contact us.