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UK's gas grid ready for 20% hydrogen blend from 2023: network companies

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UK's gas grid ready for 20% hydrogen blend from 2023: network companies

Highlights

Meets government target for hydrogen readiness

Calls for 10 GW 2030 hydrogen production target

Builds on successful HyDeploy blending test

UK's gas grid will be ready to blend up to 20% hydrogen into gas networks across the country from 2023, the Energy Networks Association said in a statement Jan. 13.

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All five of the country's gas grid companies will meet the government's target for hydrogen readiness, the industry body said.

ENA called on the UK government to increase its hydrogen production capacity target to 10 GW by 2030, up from the current target of 5 GW by that date, to ensure sufficient supply is available, and encourage domestic production.

It also called on the government and regulatory bodies to make the legal changes required for gas network companies to start blending hydrogen into the gas grid from 2023.

"Whether it be heating our homes, powering our businesses or generating cleaner electricity, hydrogen will help drive up our energy security, while driving down our carbon emissions," ENA CEO David Smith said in the statement.

A 20% hydrogen blend in the gas grid would save around 6 million mt/year of CO2, ENA said.

The CO2 savings amount to a reduction of around 6%-7%, as hydrogen has around a third of the calorific value of natural gas by volume.

Beyond the 20% level, domestic boilers need to be changed to run on higher mixes of hydrogen, which is the main constraint to hydrogen blending at present, National Grid Project Director for Hydrogen, Antony Green, told S&P Global Platts in an interview in 2021.

ENA said an increased UK hydrogen production target would help protect consumers from the sharp fluctuations seen in international gas markets in recent months.

The statement from ENA comes after a successful trial that saw a blend of 20% hydrogen introduced into the natural gas supply in the UK in 2021.

HyDeploy, the first project in the UK to blend hydrogen into a gas network, saw 100 homes and 30 university buildings on a private gas network at Keele University receive the blended gas for a period of 18 months ending in spring 2021.

Blending up to 20% hydrogen into the gas grid is subject to a final decision by the UK government in 2023.

UK domestic consumption accounted for almost 300,000 GWh of gas demand in 2020, up 1.5% on the year, according to government data. Provisional data for the first three quarters of 2021 showed domestic consumption totaling 217,000 GWh, compared with 195,000 GWh in Q1-Q3 2020.

Platts assessed UK day-ahead NBP natural gas prices at 202 p/th ($27.75/MMBtu) Jan. 13, down from a peak of 450 p/th on Dec. 21, but more than triple the price a year ago of 57.75 p/th.

Platts assessed the cost of producing hydrogen by autothermal reforming with carbon capture and storage at GBP4.55/kg ($6.25kg) on Jan. 13, including capex and carbon.