The energy landscape is undergoing a transformative shift towards sustainable alternatives, and hydrogen is at the forefront of this revolution. As part of this green transition, gas distributor SGN has embarked on a groundbreaking project to trial hydrogen gas through a decommissioned pipeline in Scotland.
In April 2022, SGN launched the ambitious £30 million LTS Futures project, a three-year endeavor aimed at verifying the compatibility of the UK’s local transmission system with hydrogen gas. At the heart of this pioneering initiative lies the transformation of a decommissioned 30km pipeline that stretches from Grangemouth refinery to Granton, near Edinburgh, into a conduit for hydrogen gas.
Over the past year, SGN’s dedicated team of engineers and researchers conducted comprehensive surveys and assessments to ensure the pipeline’s integrity. The rigorous testing involved the use of advanced techniques, including pushing a Pipeline Inspection Gauge (PIG) through the pipeline with compressed air to identify any critical defects.
Additionally, a hydrotest was conducted, filling the entire pipeline with water at pressures exceeding those expected during the live hydrogen trial. SGN also meticulously inspected the pipeline’s condition above ground, below ground, and at river crossings to guarantee its safety and suitability for hydrogen testing.
The evidence gathered from SGN’s thorough testing was submitted to Ofgem, the energy regulator in the UK. Ofgem subsequently granted approval, confirming the pipeline’s suitability for hydrogen testing. This critical milestone marks the beginning of the next stage of the project, where the existing pipeline will be connected to a hydrogen supply from project partners, INEOS.
The second stage gate will encompass offsite trials, including groundbreaking live welding procedures on a hydrogen pipeline. Success at this stage will propel the project towards a live trial scheduled for 2024. This live trial is poised to deliver a blueprint for repurposing Great Britain’s LTS network, forging a path towards decarbonization and supporting the nation’s net-zero goals.
Gemma Simpson, SGN’s Director of LTS Futures, believes that hydrogen holds immense potential to offer customers a choice in how they heat their homes as part of a holistic approach to decarbonizing heat. With hydrogen’s versatility and zero-emission characteristics, it emerges as a promising contender in the quest for cleaner, greener energy solutions.
SGN’s LTS Futures project is a testament to the transformative potential of hydrogen in shaping a sustainable energy future. By repurposing a decommissioned pipeline for hydrogen gas, SGN is blazing a trail towards decarbonization, driving innovation, and forging a greener path for the UK’s energy landscape.