Operations Research Seminar: Daniel De Wolf

September 26, 2017

4:30 PM

CORE, room b-135

Optimal Design of new Hydrogen Transmission Pipeline Networks for France

Daniel De Wolf, UCLouvain

The development of an hydrogen economy will need a transportation infrastructure to deliver hydrogen from production sites to end users. For the specific case of hydrogen, pipelines networks compete with other hydrogen carriers: compressed gas trucks and  liquid cryogenic trucks.
We consider first the problem of the optimal design of a new hydrogen transmission network. The design problem includes the topology determination and pipelines dimensioning problem. We define a  local search method that simultaneously looks for the least cost topology of the network and for the optimal diameter of each pipe. These two problems were generally solved separately. The application to the case of development of future hydrogen pipeline networks in France has been conducted at the local, regional and national levels. We compare the proposed approach with another using a Tabu search heuristic.

This study shows that the two stage-approach generally used (first look for a minimal length network and then optimizing the diameters) is not efficient. We show that increasing the total length of the network can help to decrease the network cost by using smaller diameters for some pipes.

We then  consider the problem of the determination of the temporal deployment of this new hydrogen transportation infrastructure. For the long term, the least cost infrastructure for transmission is expected to be a pipelines network. For the short term, other transportation modes could be more competitive compared to the pipelines. Starting from the hydrogen pipelines transmission network, we propose a backward heuristic approach for the deployment over time of the designed networks by considering alternate transportation modes. This approach will then be illustrated on the regional hydrogen transportation case for France tacking into account two  scenarios for hydrogen penetration into the fuel markets : high demand level and low demand level for hydrogen.

Concerning the  time development of the new network, we showed that for the mid term perspective and low market share, the trucks are the most economical options. However, for the long term, the pipeline option is considered as a economical viable option as soon as the hydrogen energy market share for the car fueling market reaches 10\%.

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