The Health and Safety Executive has approved the next phase of a ground-breaking green energy trial that could help Britain significantly reduce its carbon emissions and pave the way for a low-carbon hydrogen economy (HSE).
The HyDeploy project will combine hydrogen and natural gas over a Northern Gas Networks-operated public gas network in Winlaton, Gateshead.
Heating accounts for a third of carbon emissions in the UK at the moment. Due to the fact that hydrogen emits no carbon at the time of use, it is a feasible alternative for heating homes and businesses in order to meet the Government’s Net Zero carbon emissions objective for 2050.
HyDeploy is a £22.5 million Ofgem Network Innovation Competition project being executed by a collaboration comprised of Northern Gas Networks, Cadent, Progressive Energy Ltd, Keele University, the Health and Safety Executive – Science Division, and ITM Power.
HyDeploy’s initial phase saw the hydrogen blend effectively used in 100 households and around 30 business buildings on a controlled network at Keele University for an 18-month period ending in the spring.
HyDeploy will combine up to 20% hydrogen (by volume) for 668 households, a school, and several small businesses in Winlaton during a ten-month pilot scheduled to begin in August.
Customers will continue to use their gas supply and appliances in the same manner as they do now, with no modifications to gas appliances or piping required, as present gas appliances are designed to operate with a hydrogen blend of up to 23%.
Tim Harwood, Head of Programme Management and H21 Project Director at Northern Gas Networks, said: “We’re delighted the HSE has given us the go-ahead for the next phase of HyDeploy at Winlaton. The project will provide more vital evidence about the possibilities of blending hydrogen into the natural gas network across the UK, as a stepping-stone to decarbonising heat with no disruption to customers’
“We’ve engaged with the community of Winlaton over the past 18 months and, with the support of the Council, undertaken safety checks on their appliances to reassure residents that they can continue to use their gas as normal whilst playing a vital role in the decarbonisation of the gas network ”
Dr Angele Needle, Director of Strategy at Cadent said “HSE approval to allow customers in Winlaton to receive hydrogen blended gas builds on the successful completion of a trial on a private gas network at Keele University. From October 2019 until March 2021 customers living in 100 homes and 30 university buildings safely received a supply of blended gas without the need to make any changes to their existing appliances.”
The HSE granted HyDeploy an exemption to the current limit of 0.1% hydrogen in the UK gas network after the project gathered extensive evidence to demonstrate the hydrogen blend will be ‘as safe as natural gas’.