The first pilot project in the UK, to add 20% hydrogen to the natural gas network has now gone live at an existing private gas network at Keele University. See: UK’S FIRST GRID-INJECTED HYDROGEN PILOT GETS UNDERWAY AT KEELE (2-Jan-2020).
The project, HyDeploy, produces hydrogen by the electrolysis of water. When powered by renewable electricity sources, the electrolyser will produce “green” hydrogen and reduce carbon emissions.
The hydrogen enhanced gas network will feed 100 homes and 30 faculty buildings, with the 20% hydrogen blend the highest in Europe (along with a similar project in Northern France being run by Engie). For the pilot, gas safety checks were carried out in all the buildings involved. In addition, laboratory tests were carried out on the gas appliances used.
Injecting 20% hydrogen into the gas supply means that homeowners can continue to use their gas supply as normal, without making any changes to appliances or pipes, while cutting carbon emissions. If the UK Gas Network was converted to 20% hydrogen it is estimated that this would reduce Greenhouse gas emissions by around 6 million tonnes of CO2 per year. (Domestic heating is responsible for around 65.9 million tonnes of CO2 per year).
To increase the hydrogen volume beyond 20% would require extensive changes to the gas grid and gas appliances. This is being explored under a Northern Gas Networks project, H21 North of England, which is looking to create an 100% hydrogen gas grid.