A ground-breaking pilot project has been given the green light by the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) for Keele University to blend up to 20% hydrogen into the local gas network. Lasting around a year the study is being led by Cadent whom were awarded £6.8 million of funding in Ofgem’s Network Innovation Competition back in 2016. The construction is set begin and the trial should begin at the start of 2019.
Currently, regulations in the UK only allow 0.1% of hydrogen to be blended into the gas network but it is largely recognised that a much higher percentage is achievable; from this the HSE has granted the project an exemption for R+D to evaluate overall safety and ease of use.
The trial is taking place on a section of Keele University’s private gas network which serves 17 faculty buildings as well as 100 domestic properties. The hydrogen will solely be generated through renewable generation by means of electrolysis.
If the trial is successful, it could pave way for a more serious approach to fully integrating a much larger percentage of hydrogen into the national gas network. This would enable the cutting of carbon emissions and overall decarbonisation of our energy system.
“Hydrogen has the potential to address one of the most difficult sources of carbon emissions – heat. This trial could pave the way for a wider rollout of hydrogen blending, enabling us to begin cutting carbon emissions from heat as early as the mid-2020s, without customers needing to change their gas appliances or behaviour.”