The first phase of a project to blend hydrogen into a natural gas network in the UK has been deemed a success.
On 8 September, Cadent published a report into the first phase of the HyDeploy project, which saw 100 homes and 30 university buildings on a private gas network at Keele University receive blended gas for 18 months. Running from October 2019 to March 2021, the project successfully demonstrated for the first time in UK history that natural gas hydrogen blends can be safely distribution and used within live gas networks. It saw over 42,000 cubic metres of hydrogen delivered, with over 27 tonnes of CO2 abated.
If rolled out to all GB homes, it forecast hydrogen blending could unlock 29TWh of low carbon gas, resulting in carbon savings equivalent to removing 2.5mn cars from the roads.
Other key outcomes from the project have included successful achievement of the first regulatory approval from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to operate a live gas network above the current hydrogen limit of 0.1%; the design, fabrication, installation and operation of the UK’s first hydrogen grid entry unit; and integration of novel hydrogen production and blending technologies to create the first hydrogen delivery system, based on electrolytic generation into a live gas grid.
It has also provided evidence for the suitability of hydrogen blends with domestic appliances, as well as larger commercial appliances including catering equipment and boilers up to 600kW; evidence for the suitability of hydrogen blends with medium and low-pressure distribution systems; promotion of supply chain innovation; and the establishment of a robust social science evidence base to understand the attitudes and experience of consumers actually using hydrogen blends.
With the project marking the first practical steps of demonstrating the safety and operational feasibility of hydrogen blends, a larger pilot project is now underway at Winlaton near Gateshead, with 668 homes, a school and a handful of smaller businesses receiving hydrogen blended gas on a network operated by Northern Gas Networks (NGN).