Accelerating Hydrogen to Slow Climate Impact:
One-of-a-Kind Hydrogen Hub Test Laboratory Opens to Quicken Global Energy Transition
Houston, TX June 26, 2023 | Oceanit is launching its new Hydrogen Hub test laboratory, named H2XCEL, at expanded facilities in Houston, Texas this week. H2XCEL, short for ‘Hydrogen Accelerator,’ is a unique facility that aims to integrate hydrogen into the current energy infrastructure by providing critical data for hydrogen pipeline safety.
H2XCEL complements Oceanit’s HydroPel pipeline nanotechnology, which protects pipelines from hydrogen embrittlement. Hydrogen embrittlement occurs when small hydrogen molecules penetrate pipe walls and damage the metal, potentially causing pipeline cracks, leaks, and failures. As the only laboratory in the U.S. capable of testing hydrogen and methane mixtures at high temperatures and pressures, H2XCEL provides confidence in preparing the nearly 3.5 million miles of existing natural gas pipelines in the U.S. to accommodate hydrogen, operating as methane-hydrogen blends.
By enabling the energy sector to reduce its climate impact while continuing to provide energy using existing infrastructure, methane-hydrogen blends capitalize on hydrogen’s carbon-free energy potential and its positive impact on climate change.
Energy experts widely acknowledge that the maturation of a global hydrogen economy will be crucial in the next phase of the global energy transition. Green hydrogen, a versatile energy carrier, has the potential to decarbonize energy generation, fuels, and industrial processes across various sectors. Incorporating hydrogen could completely decarbonize heavy industry, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and mitigate climate change.
“The launch of this testing facility is a major milestone. It is the only lab of its kind in the U.S., and the work underway at H2XCEL will accelerate the transition toward a hydrogen-driven economy,” said Dr. Patrick Sullivan, CEO and founder of Oceanit. “This lab is highly customized for novel hydrogen technologies, such as our nanomaterial for pipeline protection, HydroPel, HALO for green hydrogen production, and HyDIOS for hydrogen gas blend monitoring. We see a toolset emerging that will enable the U.S. to accelerate toward a low-carbon future.”
Developed with the support of the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE), HydroPel is a nanocomposite surface treatment that protects metals on a nanoscale, eliminating the need to build new pipelines using expensive, hydrogen-resistant metals. The estimated cost of new hydrogen pipeline builds averages approximately $4.65 million per mile. In contrast, HydroPel can be applied in-situ to existing pipelines to prevent hydrogen embrittlement, and the cost to refurbish one mile of existing steel pipeline with HydroPel is less than 10% of the cost per mile for new pipeline construction.
One of the primary objectives at H2XCEL will be to test increasing hydrogen-methane blends under varying conditions to determine the application of HydroPel on the wide array of existing pipeline types, ensuring safe hydrogen transport. Working closely with partners from government, academia, and industry, H2XCEL and Oceanit aim to pave the way for a sustainable and affordable energy future.