Can existing gas networks in the UK be repurposed to safely carry 100% hydrogen in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from heat? That’s the question a suite of innovation projects, dubbed H21, led by Northern Gas Networks (NGN) is aiming to answer.
As the UK looks towards 2050 and a cleaner and greener energy future, the issue of decarbonising the way the country heats its homes and businesses needs to be addressed. But decarbonising heat presents a very large and difficult problem. The scale of energy the UK requires is 540 terrawatt hours (TWh) and the enormous swings in demand from summer to winter means that just using electricity is not a realistic solution.
For more than a century the UK has been heavily reliable on gas: it provides flexible energy at huge scale that can be stored in gigantic volumes indefinitely to be used when needed. The UK also has an existing network in place that is used by 90% of homes, businesses and industry for heat.
Replacing the gas in the networks with a low carbon fuel like hydrogen is a solution that can deliver the carbon savings the UK needs within the time scales required by the Climate Change Act and Paris Agreements. But what does the public think of this? Do they support the idea of a hydrogen gas network?
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