Case story


Hydrogen production & CO2 Capture pilot plant

United Kingdom

EN 13445

Belman has guided Cranfield University on Expansion Joint designs for its impressive HyPER project, which is a pilot plant for a low-carbon hydrogen production project. For this pilot production plant Belman helped the university with engineered Gimbal Expansion Joints for installation in the project.


About Cranfield University and the HyPER project*
Cranfield University is an exclusively postgraduate university in the UK that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management. Cranfield University leads the way in energy and sustainability research and teaching, working with industry to develop concepts into reality. The university’s key areas of expertise includes sustainable fuel production, CO2 capture and H2 production.

The “HyPER” project – hydrogen production by enhanced reforming is a collaboration between Cranfield University, GTI Energy and Altrad Babcock. This project will develop, install and operate a MW scale pilot plant to demonstrate the sorption-enhanced reforming process’ potential to deliver bulk quantities of economically and efficiently produced low-carbon hydrogen. The HyPER project is leading the development of a new clean hydrogen production process in the UK to test an innovative hydrogen production technology that substantially reduces greenhouse gas emissions. You can find more information about the interesting project here: https://hyperh2.co.uk/

(Source: Hyper project website – https://hyperh2.co.uk/).


CLIENT ISSUES – Requirements for the Expansion Joints
Cranfield University is building a demonstration hydrogen production and CO2 separation plant and needed a proposal from Belman on the supply of Gimbal Expansion Joints based on the available design specifications for a high temperature and high-pressure hydrogen pipeline. Belman started the engineering process and also made recommendations for the materials and the design.


BELMAN SOLUTION – Top Expansion Joint Design
The design is a top-end premium piece of engineering Gimbal Expansion Joints. Due to the very high test pressure of 224 barg, the Expansion joint is equipped with exceptionally thick flanges and ring-reinforced bellows to withstand the pressure. By supporting multi-layered Expansion Joint bellows with ring reinforcement, an optimum combination of both pressure integrity and service life is achieved. As the design temperature is very extreme (725°C), insulation has been placed between the inner sleeve and the bellows for safety reasons, to protect the bellows from the heat by exposing them to a lower temperature.


Special materials
Due to the complexity of the design requirements for the Expansion Joints as well as the very high operating and design temperature, the Expansion Joints were made from special materials. The Bellows are made from Inconel 800 H as this material has the same basic composition as Incoloy 800 but had a significantly higher creep rupture strength. The higher strength is due to control of carbon, aluminum and titanium contents in conjunction with a high temperature anneal. The inner sleeve, flanges and pipe ends are made from AISI 321H, which is a carbon version of the alloy AISI 321. AISI 321 H is developed for enhanced creep resistance and for higher strength at elevated temperatures.


Tested at 224 barg
As this project is a prototype and due to the critical media, the University worked with extra high safety margins on the project. For that reason, the Expansion Joints were pressure-tested at 224 barg even though the design pressure is 26 barg. Due to the high test pressure, the Expansion Joints were designed with extra thick flanges and ring-reinforced bellows to ensure they could withstand the high pressure.


Belman supports outstanding engineering and green initiatives
Belman is always proud to support prestigious universities and their shining talents within engineering, which is why Belman is very pleased to be able to support and supply this amazing project. Actually, Belman has helped several universities in both Europe and outside European borders.

Furthermore, Belman finds it very important to support green engineering initiatives and technologies to help the world embrace a greener future.


Design parameters of the Gimbal Expansion Joints:

Type: Gimbal Expansion Joints • Quantity: 2 pcs. • Dimensions: DN 100 • Installation length: 486 mm • Medium: Hco2• Design pressure: -1/+26 barg • Design temperature: -8°C/725°C • AN: +/-8° • Bellow: 1.4958 (Inconel 800H) • Inner sleeve, pipe end, flange: 1.4878 (AISI 321H) • Insulation: Superwool • Design code: EN13445


  • High quality Expansion Joint solution
  • Expert assistance from a supplier with vast experience in high pressure Expansion Joints
  • Expert assistance from a supplier that is highly experienced in material selection and has the capabilities to produce Expansion Joints in all kinds of materials
  • Expansion Joint solutions tailored to the complex and unique project requirements
Gimbal expansion bellows for hydrogen and co2 capture plant
Gimbal flexible bellows for hydrogen research project tested at 224 barg
Gimbal Expansion Joints for hydrogen tested at 224 barg

TECHNICAL information

  • Technical information on good materials for Expansion Joints in the Expansion Joint Catalogue
    pages 51-55
  • Resistance tables to help you find the proper material for the application and media you are working with in the Expansion Joint Catalogue
    pages 439-459


Universität Bundeswehr München • ESS • University of Oxford • Technische Universität Berlin • RWTH Aachen Universität • Concordia University • Technische Universität Damstadt • University of Copenhagen • Technische Universität Dresden • Cranfield University • Universität Rostock • Universität Stuttgart • DTU – Risø • Vienna University of Technology •



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