SAW tests confirm LIBERTY Pipes Hartlepool as UK’s first producer of hydrogen pipeline material

LIBERTY Pipes Hartlepool has passed trials to become the UK’s first producer of pipelines for the transportation and storage of hydrogen.


Element Materials Technology has confirmed that LIBERTY’s 42” submerged arc welded (SAW) line pipe meets international requirements for hydrogen piping and pipelines set by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

Fracture mechanics testing loaded the weld, heat affected zone and pipe material to twice the required stress intensity.

“The testing was conducted on typical sour service carbon steel line pipe in gaseous hydrogen at 100Barg, which is around the expected upper operating pressure limit for onshore hydrogen transmission pipelines,” said Martin Connelly, LIBERTY Pipes Hartlepool’s technical director. “The testing was limited to ASTM E1681 linear elastic fracture mechanics, as defined within the ASME B31.12 design code. No permeation work has been carried out by Liberty Pipes Hartlepool, but we are aware of work going on within the industry studying this aspect of hydrogen operation.”

Demand for SAW line pipes will rise in the UK over the next 20 years to meet the demands of the transition to Net Zero. The UK Hydrogen Strategy announced in 2021 aims for 10GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030, aimed at bringing down emissions in UK industrial sectors and provide flexible energy for power, heat and transport.

Martin Connelly, technical director for LIBERTY Pipes Hartlepool said: “LIBERTY is the first steel pipe producer in the UK and one of only a handful globally to confirm it can meet hydrogen standards. We see huge demand in this market and believe it positions us well in forthcoming tenders for several hydrogen service projects”

LIBERTY Pipes Hartlepool said successful SAW tests are an important milestone in the company’s development of a suite of hydrogen service fracture mechanics tests, including future quasi-static testing. The company added that it will continue to work with Element Materials Technology to further extend its availability of pipes suitable for hydrogen.