Britain’s five major gas grid companies have launched a major collaborative plan to create the UK’s first hydrogen town by 2030.
They have also unveiled plans for developing a network of hydrogen refuelling stations for transport and helping to decarbonise industrial clusters.
The companies own and operate the infrastructure that delivers gas to 85% of homes in Great Britain.
Hydrogen is one of the key elements of the UK’s Ten Point Plan to drive a green industrial revolution. The UK will aim to generate 5GW of “low-carbon” hydrogen production capacity by 2030. Up to £500m will be invested in a bid to create a Hydrogen Neighbourhood in 2023, a Hydrogen Village by 2025, and to create the first town running entirely on hydrogen.
The UK’s gas network companies have now outlined proposals for meeting these aims. Published as part of Energy Networks Association’s (ENA) Gas Goes Green programme, the new hydrogen plan features the five major gas network companies, Cadent, National Grid, Northern Gas Network, SGN & Wales & West Utilities which have agreed to blend 20% hydrogen into local gas grids by 2023 enabling the UK to meet the Ten Point Plan of creating a hydrogen production capacity of 1GW by 2025 and 5GW by 2030.
The ENA’s Gas Goes Green champion Chris Train said: ‘Building the UK’s first hydrogen town is not just about replacing the natural gas that most of our homes rely upon today; it’s about reducing our carbon emissions in a safe and secure way. It’s about delivering meaningful choice for households, businesses and communities. And it’s about ensuring that the economic benefits of hydrogen are spread around the country, to take advantage of the breadth and scale of that transformation.
‘Britain’s Hydrogen Network Plan sets out how our gas network companies will do all of that in the years ahead.’
The companies will consider ways to deliver a network of refuelling facilities for zero-carbon heavy good vehicles, and how carbon capture and storage and hydrogen use can help decarbonise industrial areas. The UK is aiming to deliver the world’s first net-zero emissions industrial zone by 2040. Six clusters are currently striving to be chosen.
In relation to the development of the first hydrogen village, buildings in the village of Winlaton, near Gateshead, will be some of the first in the UK to trial natural gas blended with hydrogen. From early this year, a total of 670 houses plus the local church, primary school and several businesses will all receive the hydrogen blend for about 10 months.
The project will be led by regional gas distributor Northern Gas Networks as part of the HyDeploy North East scheme, with assistance from Cadent, which delivers gas to more than 11 million houses and businesses in the UK.
HyDeploy already injects hydrogen into Keele University’s existing natural gas network which supplies 30 faculty buildings and 100 domestic properties.
The first hydrogen has been fired for the ‘HyNet Industrial Fuel Switching’ (IFS) programme, which is being led by Progressive Energy and will provide data on how industries can switch to low-carbon hydrogen.
The live demonstration featured a 1MW boiler at Dunphy Combustion’s test centre in Rochdale, Greater Manchester.
It forms part of the HyNet North West hydrogen and carbon capture storage project, that will aim to deliver carbon savings by 2025. By 2030, the project will be capable of removing up to 10 million tonnes of carbon from across North West England and North East Wales each year – the equivalent of taking four million cars off the road annually.