The UK's Health and Safety Executive has given the go-ahead for the country's first trial for blending hydrogen into a public natural gas network, operator Northern Gas Networks said July 26.
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The HyDeploy project will deliver a blend of 20% hydrogen into the natural gas supply to Winlaton, Gateshead, supplying 668 houses, a school and several small businesses, for 10 months starting in August, Northern Gas Networks said in a statement.
"The project will provide more vital evidence about the possibilities of blending hydrogen into the natural gas network across the UK, as a stepping stone to decarbonizing heat with no disruption to customers," Northern Gas Networks Head of Programme Management and H21 Project Director Tim Harwood said.
"We've engaged with the community of Winlaton over the past 18 months and, with the support of the council, undertaken safety checks on their appliances to reassure residents that they can continue to use their gas as normal whilst playing a vital role in the decarbonization of the gas network."
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Existing gas appliances are designed to operate with a blend of up to 23% hydrogen, Northern Gas Networks said.
The trial in public gas networks follows the first phase of HyDeploy at Keele University, where project partners supplied a 20% hydrogen blend in a closed natural gas network to 100 homes and 30 commercial buildings for 18 months, ending in spring 2021.
Residential and commercial heating accounts for around a third of the UK's CO2 emissions, Northern Gas Networks said. Blending 20% hydrogen across the UK gas grid could save around 6 million mt/year of carbon emissions, it said.
HyDeploy consortium partners also include gas distribution network owner and operator Cadent, project developer Progressive Energy and electrolyzer manufacturer ITM Power.
S&P Global Platts assessed the cost of producing hydrogen via alkaline electrolysis in the UK (including capex) at GBP5.13/kg ($7.09/kg) July 23. PEM electrolysis production was assessed at GBP6.31/kg, while blue hydrogen production by autothermal reforming was GBP2.13/kg (including capex, CCS and carbon).