East Coast Hydrogen launched in North East England


A new concept, East Coast Hydrogen, has been launched by Cadent, Northern Gas Networks (NGN) and National Grid. East Coast Hydrogen was launched at an online webinar on 21 September. The project is looking at repurposing and building new hydrogen pipelines across the North East of England. These pipelines will connect the Humberside and Teeside industrial clusters initially and spread across the wider region thereafter.

The first speaker was Henri Murison (Director) of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership. He discussed the opportunity for the North East to replace jobs being lost with new Net Zero ones. This would see the East Coast Hydrogen project benefit all businesses and people, and go beyond being solely a technical challenge and more about “jobs and livlihoods”. Stella Matthews, Hydrogen Development Manager at Northern Gas Networks, highlighted the potential for the East Coast Hydrogen to meet 10% of the government’s 9,000 hydrogen economy job target.

Angela Needle, Strategy Director at Cadent, continued by addressing the two key challenges that East Coast Hydrogen will look to address. The first is the cost of hydrogen. The project will look to drive down the costs of hydrogen through achieving hydrogen production at scale through the two industrial clusters at Humberside and Teeside. The second was the enabling reliable access to hydrogen at scale. The project will look to provide homes and businesses with access to hydrogen through tackling the infrastructure challenge via repurposing and new construction.

Tim Howard, Programme Director at NGN, reinforced this by outlining the approach to repurposing assets and constructing new assets. He alluded to Phase two of the HyDeploy project at Winlaton in Gateshead which is already decarbonising its gas supply through 20% hydrogen supply. He noted no disruption or changes to the way of life and a good example of hydrogen development that is happening here and now.

Antony Green, Hydrogen Director at National Grid, discussed the role that it will play in providing a reliable high pressure hydrogen transmission system connecting the industrial clusters. He mentioned other projects underway such as Project Union and FutureGrid which are working on progressing the hydrogen debate.

Stella Matthews concluded the presentations session by outlining the role that East Coast Hydrogen can play in supporting Net Zero, but also in doing what’s right by the customer. The headline outputs will be 10% of the government’s 9,000 jobs at 100% of the 5GW hydrogen production target by 2030.

A Q&A session was then held with the audience with some of the key discussion topics including:

On blue and green hydrogen

  • the focus will be on both
  • blue hydrogen production will be at Teeside and Humberside, and
  • green hydrogen production will form a big part moving forwards but is likely to be more decentralised across the region

On blends to be carried out

  • 20% is the focus as most appliances are safety tested at a 23% hydrogen blend

On hydrogen at high pressure

  • National Grid have been undertaking trials looking at steel pipelines with hydrogen
    • Trials are positive
    • Steel embrittlement is a risk but a well understood risk
    • Confident these risks can be managed and network can be repurposed or new pipelines constructed
  • Key issue is compressor fleet
    • Compressors can cope with blends of hydrogen but not 100%
    • Existing fleet will therefore need to be replaced
    • This can be done by taking current assets to end of life and replacing naturally thereafter with hydrogen suitable compressors

On next steps

  • Feasibility report to be issued on 30 November 2021 at an online event