Hydrogen to be injected in Swindon’s gas grid
© Wales & West Utilities

Hydrogen to be injected in Swindon’s gas grid

Wales & West Utilities wants to work towards blending up to 20% hydrogen into local gas grids by 2023, and converting villages to run on 100% hydrogen by 2025 – and the company has recently made headway on its ambitions in Swindon.

Such targets are part of a wider goal set by a consortium of British gas network companies, as part of Energy Networks Association’s plan. Dubbed Britain’s Hydrogen Network Plan, the work looks to cut emissions immediately.

Having recently received its latest green light for its gas grid efforts, Wales & West Utilities announced that Swindon’s gas grid will soon be injected with hydrogen blends, with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) giving the go-ahead for natural gas with an elevated hydrogen level to be used in the national network.

Immediately, it is expected to reduce carbon emissions by up to 5,000 tonnes for almost 2,500 homes immediately through injecting gas with up to 1% hydrogen. As well as hydrogen bio-substitute natural gas (BioSNG) will also be injected into the pipeline.

The latest commitment will work as a stepping-stone in preparing the gas network to transport larger amounts of hydrogen and biomethane in the gas grid, supporting home heating, heavy industry, businesses and transportation.

On the effort, Sarah Williams, Wales & West Utilities Director of Regulation and Asset Strategy, said, “We’re delighted to get permission from the HSE to start injecting gas with up to 1% hydrogen into our network in Swindon.

“This will help reduce the carbon emissions from local homes today without any impact on our customers or their appliances. It’s another important step in demonstrating the use of the existing safe and reliable gas network in the UK to transport hydrogen.

“The 2020s must be a decade of delivery, where we put the research and development work that has been done on hydrogen into practice. This project will help support ambitious plans across the UK to convert villages to hydrogen, help heavy industry decarbonise, and meet Government’s aspirations on hydrogen for home heating.”

In focus: Transitioning the UK’s gas networks to hydrogen

A range of innovation projects are underway in the UK working on how to transition the country’s gas networks from delivering natural gas to hydrogen, so homes and businesses can continue to receive the energy they need safely and securely.

Led by the UK’s five gas network operators – Cadent, National Grid, Northern Gas Networks, SGN and Wales & West Utilities, these projects range from testing blending up to 20% of hydrogen into the existing gas grid to how we will transport 100% renewable hydrogen from offshore wind turbines all the way to people’s living rooms.

A major new blueprint plotting the course to deliver the UK’s hydrogen objectives outlined in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution was unveiled by Energy Networks Association’s Gas Goes Green programme in January.

Britain’s Hydrogen Network Plan sets out the work the five gas network operators will undertake to meet these goals including ensure the gas transmission network is ready by 2023 to blend up to 20% hydrogen and to help the UK meet its hydrogen production target of 1GW by 2025 and 5GW by 2030.

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