CRC Evans leads in hydrogen pipeline delivery


CRC Evans has successfully completed work on a hydrogen pipeline in Europe, further enhancing the Group’s expertise in this new area of pipeline welding.

Located in Romania’s Black Sea Podisor region, the pipeline spans over 50km and includes both 40-inch and 48-inch pipeline diameters. At 12.5mm wall thickness, the 40-inch diameter section required 2,800 mainline welds, and at 14.2mm wall thickness, the 48-inch diameter section required 2,300 mainline welds. The pipeline, which was initially intended to transport natural gas, was redesigned to be constructed as ‘hydrogen ready’ in a move to support lifetime extension and future use.

One of the key challenges with hydrogen pipeline welding is weld procedure qualification, an operation carried out to test the proposed parameters to ensure the integrity of a weld. Pipeline welding involves multiple variables, such as current, voltage, travel speed, pipe thickness, weld position and temperature, where each variable is an influencing factor. Delivering the ideal values for these variables is necessary to ensure optimum weld quality and that the weld can meet the intended application.

To meet hardness and quality requirements CRC Evans’ welding and metallurgy experts conduct a combination of different welding processes using the same welding system, to support the development of a procedure that is applicable to all environments. An additional challenge when dealing with hydrogen is that it has very small atoms that can permeate the steel microstructure and increase the risk of stress corrosion. Ensuring low steel hardness can improve operational outcomes by combatting embrittlement and the enhanced risk of pipeline steel cracking. This requires experienced technicians with a deep understanding of materials.

CRC Evans Strategic Growth Director, Leon Dashwood said “Governments around the world are setting out hydrogen strategies to support decarbonisation goals and plans for targeted investment across industrial, transportation and energy sectors. Hydrogen is becoming increasingly important in the drive to reduce global emissions.

“Part of this transition will be the delivery of vital new infrastructure to support the manufacture, storage, and transportation of hydrogen, ensuring its safe and reliable delivery. As trusted infrastructure specialists, CRC Evans has the experience and capability to become a key partner in the hydrogen market.”