Gas network companies Cadent, SGN and National Grid Gas Transmission have joined in a feasibility study to identify how much hydrogen may be needed by London over the next 30 years, where it can be produced and stored, and how it would be transported to where it is needed. It will explore how the gas grid can play a role in the distribution of hydrogen via blending in the existing network and working towards the delivery of 100% hydrogen via dedicated infrastructure.
The Thames Estuary has potential for low carbon hydrogen production and use in nearby industry and gas-fired power generators. Hydrogen demand in the capital will help to stimulate production here and in other in potenial energy hubs such as those at Bacton in Norfolk and Southampton, and the feasibility study will look at how gas networks can help connect production and demand.
The study is the first stage of the Capital Hydrogen programme for the London and South East region, which comprises a series of projects which will last for 15-20 years. The research will conclude in October 2022 and showcase views from key stakeholders, which will be gathered by the three energy companies over the next six months. The project is being supported by ERM and Element Energy.
SGN Project Manager Graham Cox said: The vision will explore how much hydrogen may be needed in London across all sectors.”
Meanwhile in the South Bank area of Teesside Northern Gas Networks (NGN) is using a network of existing natural gas mains to carry out standard gas operational procedures under 100% hydrogen conditions . The testing is taking place on an area of disused land where gas pipes that once supplied around 70 homes on the site, while all still intact, are disconnected from the rest of the network. The homes have been demolished.
Neil Travers, H21 Project Manager for Northern Gas Networks said: “There are many different procedures carried out on the gas network on a day to day basis and it’s essential we understand how these may need to be adapted to ensure hydrogen can be delivered as safely and reliably as natural gas. Extensive research has already been completed off-grid but the difference at the South Bank is that we are using older gas mains, as are typical in many streets across the UK, for the first time.”
NGN says a hydrogen conversion would be conducted in a similar way to the natural gas conversion of the 1960s and 1970s with customers required to change gas appliances, such as boilers and cookers in their homes to similar hydrogen versions. In addition to testing network procedures, the project includes the installation of two domestic hydrogen boilers produced by Vaillant and Baxi. It is part of the H21 project.