Future Fuels CRC Chief Executive Officer David Norman sat down with The Australian Pipeliner to discuss how the industry can overcome corrosion issues by using biomethane.
Corrosion will always be an issue for infrastructure, and this drives our industry to research better solutions for the future. We can improve both how we protect pipeline systems from external corrosion but also how we can protect them from the effects of new fuels and fluids like hydrogen, biomethane and carbon dioxide.
Our recently completed research project RP3.2-09 on biomethane impurities, led by the University of Melbourne, researched the corrosion impacts of the addition of biomethane into gas networks.
Biomethane can bring higher-than-usual oxygen concentrations into natural gas pipelines, so we need to understand what this means for updating standards.
We now have biomethane injection into the gas grid in Australia with great potential for future scale-up, so it’s important to develop the right standards to enable its widespread use in our networks.
Working with Deakin University and Atteris, our project RP3.4-10 on carbon dioxide (CO2) pipelines’ impurities looks at the developing issue of piping high-density CO2 for storage, sequestration, and use.
The corrosivity of high-density CO2 can increase significantly when certain commonly found impurities are present. The relationship has not been predictable with some rates of corrosion higher than expected.
Our project will provide a better understanding of what is already known globally and how we plan further research to better manage this issue in such a vital area. Some of this work was presented by Tom Seeber from Atteris at this 2023’s APGA Convention and Exhibition in his paper ‘Researching the Aggressive Internal Corrosion of CO2 Pipelines’.
Our research also focusses on how we can continue to build our knowledge of cathodic protection to manage existing and future sources of potential corrosion.
Cathodic systems are one of the foundational technologies in our management of corrosion, so we must continue to learn, innovate, and prepare for the future.
The University of Melbourne’s research RP3.2-04B on cohesive gas impurities works to understand how the industry’s cathodic protection systems are affected by the build-up of conductive deposits that can be present in some natural gas streams.
These deposits can cause the electrical failure of pipeline isolation joints which reduces the effectiveness of cathodic protection systems. This research now provides natural gas producers with a quantitative method to reduce specific contamination rates within the gas transmission network, helping to maintain the effectiveness of protection systems.
Our work also shows the complex nature of future challenges. We have started research to assess the risks of coating damage and hydrogen embrittlement of steel pipelines under the combined effects of hydrogen from external cathodic protection and internal hydrogen containing fuels, in our project RP3.4-08.
Many pipelines in the future may face this double combination of corrosion risks and owners and operators need to be prepared with new knowledge to protect their assets.
Although future corrosion challenges seem significant, they can be effectively managed in the same way we always have; by deeply understanding the issue and then engineering effective solutions.
For more information, visit futurefuelscrc.com.
This article featured in the January edition of The Australian Pipeliner.