16 & 17 April 2024 – Hyatt Regency West, Houston, Texas

Robert Schroeder

Mechanical Engineer, Sargent & Lundy

TITLE:  A study funded by the Low-Carbon Resources Initiative (LCRI, a partnership with EPRI and GTI Energy) on Repurposing Existing Natural Gas Compressor Stations for Hydrogen and Hydrogen-Natural Gas Blends: Impacts, Upgrade Costs, and Station Changes

SYNOPSISInterest in a growing hydrogen economy is building, and with such interest comes desire to understand to what extent it is even possible to adapt existing natural gas infrastructure to transport hydrogen.  Several studies and due diligence efforts have highlighted the challenges:  material compatibility, necessary legacy pipeline inspections and upgrades, emission/leakage risks, necessary compressor station upgrades and throughput limitations, and so on.  However, cost information is hard to come by, and for that reason EPRI’s Low Carbon Resources Initiative (LCRI) and S&L (Sargent & Lundy) recently carried out a study specific to the cost impacts on existing pipeline compressor stations.  This study focused on thresholds (thresholds of % H2 content in natural gas) where certain station upgrades become necessary and what upgrades are required;  pipeline throughput implications;  and focused on estimated CAPEX and OPEX impacts of said upgrades.  To ensure results were meaningful without being vendor specific, this study was based on input from multiple compressor OEMs and multiple pipeline operators, whom were made aware of this study and voluntarily participated.  The existing compressor technology at a compressor station (reciprocating or centrifugal) has impact on the results, and the performance and cost implications of the two compressor types will be highlighted in the presentation. 

BIOGRAPHY: Robert Schroeder, Ph.D., P.E. works as a mechanical engineer at Sargent & Lundy, contributing to engineering and project deliverables for numerous pipeline, industrial, and electric power plant projects.  He is a graduate of Valparaiso University (BSME) and Penn State (M.S. and Ph.D., also mechanical engineering).  His expertise is in compressible flow, fluid transient modeling (including water hammer), cavitation modeling, and gas turbine heat transfer.  Robert routinely helps troubleshoot existing systems and contributes to improved future designs, as well as mentoring newer engineers in the technical areas and practical aspects of engineering.  Robert heads the “Valves” community of practice within S&L, actively contributes to other communities of practice, and currently serves as owner/coordinator of S&L’s “Mechanical Process Engineering” ISO9001 process that governs P&ID creation, hydraulic and process modeling, valve sizing, overpressure protection, and life cycle analyses.  Robert is also a member of S&L’s hydrogen team and serves as the team’s specialist for hydrogen compression.