The UK is taking bold strides towards a greener, sustainable energy future with Ofgem’s Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) announcing an investment of approximately £49.1 million in cutting-edge hydrogen technologies.
As part of a broader initiative to drive the energy transition and achieve clean power by 2035, hydrogen-based projects are set to play a pivotal role in reshaping the nation’s energy landscape. With key investments in gas and electricity innovations, Ofgem’s commitment to advancing hydrogen technologies could lead to significant breakthroughs, creating a more resilient, reliable, and affordable energy infrastructure while accelerating the UK’s journey towards net-zero emissions.
The Strategic Innovation Fund’s allocation of £49.1 million showcases its dedication to driving innovation and transformative technologies in the energy sector. The investment targets crucial aspects of the hydrogen value chain, with a focus on modifying existing gas compression units for hydrogen use and exploring the feasibility of hydrogen applications in heavy-duty transportation.
Leading the charge is the National Gas Transmission, which secured £33.3 million for its HyNTS Compression project. This ambitious endeavor aims to repurpose existing compression equipment to facilitate 100% hydrogen transmission, a crucial step in integrating hydrogen into the national gas network. Partnerships with esteemed organizations like Cardiff University, Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery Ltd, and others will propel the project towards success.
Southern Gas Networks Plc, at the helm of the Velocity Design with Hydrogen initiative, will investigate the application of hydrogen in gas distribution networks. This ambitious project, in collaboration with Cadent Gas Ltd, National Grid Gas Plc, and others, seeks to unlock the potential of hydrogen in reshaping the gas distribution landscape.
Moreover, the HyNTS Deblending for Transport Applications project, led by National Grid Gas Plc, aims to assess the blending of hydrogen for heavy transport refueling stations into the gas network. The collaboration with Element Energy Ltd, HyET Hydrogen B.V., and other partners will pave the way for a cleaner and more efficient transport infrastructure.
Marzia Zafar, Deputy Director of Digitalization & Innovation at Ofgem, emphasized the importance of innovative solutions in achieving the clean power target by 2035. The SIF’s funding partnership with Innovate UK provides a launch pad for transformative technologies that can drive the energy transition cost-effectively.
Carolina Tortora, Head of Digital Transformation & Innovation Strategy at National Grid ESO, stressed the opportunity to build a smart, flexible energy system, empowering consumers to contribute as a new source of flexibility. Initiatives like the CrowdFlex demonstrator are instrumental in supporting low-carbon technologies and reducing consumer costs.
Matt Hastings, Deputy Director of the Ofgem SIF program at Innovate UK, highlighted the urgency of the net-zero mission and commended the swift development of innovative ideas into large-scale demonstrators. The SIF has already funded over 100 pioneering projects since 2022, and the call for more innovators to step forward with transformative ideas echoes the nation’s dedication to finding sustainable energy solutions.
With Ofgem’s visionary investment in hydrogen technologies, the UK is taking a monumental leap towards a cleaner, greener future. By fostering a supportive environment for innovation and research, the nation stands poised to reap significant cost and carbon emission savings in the coming years. As hydrogen technologies continue to evolve, they hold the potential to revolutionize the energy landscape, driving the UK’s transition towards a more sustainable and resilient energy future.