Harnessing Hydrogen: A transformative path to decarbonisation and economic growth

For decades now the UK’s gas networks have been delivering energy safely and efficiently to homes up and down the country. It is a real success story and something for the gas industry to be immensely proud of, but it can no longer be business as usual. These systems will soon need to be repurposed so they can become a key cog in the UK’s Net Zero future and it makes sense to replicate the successes of natural gas with hydrogen.

Before the end of the year, the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) is expected to determine whether hydrogen can be blended in the gas distribution networks, a decision that could shape the trajectory of this nascent industry. As we eagerly await this decision, it is imperative to underscore the numerous benefits that hydrogen blending could usher in for the nation.

Our existing networks serve as a compelling blueprint for the integration of low-carbon hydrogen. Currently the hydrogen market is being hampered by the lack of infrastructure, meaning producers and offtakers need to strike one-on-one agreements. Hydrogen blending presents a unique opportunity to bridge this gap, fostering connections wherever there is a suitable pipeline and stimulating the burgeoning hydrogen production market.

Recent consumer trials have demonstrated the safety of burning up to 20% hydrogen in domestic appliances. If approved by DESNZ, hydrogen blending holds the potential to enhance the security and resilience of gas supply to over 23 million homes. Moreover, it marks a crucial step towards decarbonising networks, contributing to the broader goal of reducing carbon emissions in domestic heating.

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