In order to safely store hydrogen underground, it is paramount that the infrastructure is extensively tested and validated to support these conditions. Vallourec has been at the forefront of such research, having developed in 2021 a qualification protocol certifying its VAM® 21 connections’ tightness to hydrogen. Now, Vallourec has successfully tested and approved the use of its dope-free solution CLEANWELL® for hydrogen storage use, further increasing performance and reducing environmental impact.
Vallourec’s qualification protocol developed in 2021 included the study of VAM® 21’s behavior to hydrogen, simulating conditions (pressure, temperature, mechanical loads) experienced during storage operations. You can read more about Vallourec’s hydrogen qualification protocol here.
The first connection to be qualified was VAM® 21 9 5/8” for storage applications up to 560bar. Additional outside diameters (OD) were evaluated using a combination of physical tests and Finite Element Analysis (FEA). In order to provide customers with a more advanced offer including higher running performances and minimal environmental impact, Vallourec also tested the sealability in hydrogen applications of its dope-free solution CLEANWELL®. The validated range now covers dimensions 6 5/8” to 13 5/8”, with different configurations (dope and CLEANWELL®), and will continue to expand according to the needs of our customers.
CLEANWELL® is a non-polluting, multi-functional coating which replaces both storage and running compounds and is applied directly on the surface of VAM® connections. Thanks to its metal-plated layer, CLEANWELL® provides anticorrosion and anti-galling performances ensuring storage resistance in various climates and outdoor exposure for over 3 years. A thermoset lubricant applied on top of the electro-plated surface provides extreme repeatability and stability throughout make-up. Directly applied at the mill, CLEANWELL® is a zero-waste lubricant, offering an environmentally-friendly alternative to standard compounds.
CLEANWELL® is a very suitable coating for underground storage of gases: its track record, improved running performance and reduced environmental risk combined with VAM® 21’s certified tightness to hydrogen create a comprehensive offer to ensure the integrity of future hydrogen storage wells. The VAM® 21 CLEANWELL® duo has already gained interest from operators looking to store hydrogen in salt caverns.
Vallourec continues to develop testing methodologies and participate in joint research programs in order to contribute to hydrogen’s worldwide deployment.
For an overview of the testing parameters, download the document below: