HyDeploy: Safety

The safety of customers is the most important aspect of HyDeploy. The blend of gas has been approved by the UK Health & Safety Executive and the Health & Safety Laboratory are overseeing the safety aspects of the project.

Safety for HyDeploy

Before permission for the live trial for HyDeploy, the UK Health & Safety Executive had to be satisfied that the blended gas would not present increased risks to those that may be affected by it, including homeowners and building users. Following a review of the safety case, the blend of hydrogen and natural gas has been approved.

The evidence gained from HyDeploy will help us to understand more about how hydrogen can be used as a safe and low carbon option in homes and businesses to reduce C02 emissions from heat.

Each home and building in the trial area was offered the opportunity for a standard gas safety check of their appliances and installation. Over 90% of the homes consented to this check and after a safety assessment, received a Gas Safety Certificate. All of the university owned homes and buildings in the trial area were also safety checked. Click here for a short video about the safety checks.

At the time of the safety assessment in homes, different blends of hydrogen and natural gas were also tested on appliances. This was to gather evidence about the operation of appliances with different blends of hydrogen and natural gas. This evidence was provided to the HSE along with results from laboratory testing of gas appliances, gas pipes and other materials with hydrogen.

A further standard annual gas safety check for homes and buildings in the trial area will be offered ahead of the live trial. The Health & Safety Laboratory, a project partner for HyDeploy, will be continuing to oversee the safety aspects of the project.

About hydrogen

Hydrogen could be used for low carbon energy because when it is burned it doesn’t produce carbon dioxide (CO2), just water and heat.

Hydrogen is an abundant chemical element. It does not occur naturally as a gas on its own; it is always combined with other elements.

Water for example or H2O, is a combination of hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen must be separated out from the other element to make it into an energy carrier.

Using hydrogen safely

Hydrogen, like other fuels, is flammable. As with other fuels, such as natural gas and petrol, if proper guidelines are followed, hydrogen can be used safely.

Hydrogen has already been used in industrial applications for many years. The UK Health & Safety Laboratory has been involved in research into hydrogen safety for over a decade; studying how hydrogen can be used safely:

  • as a transport fuel,
  • in small scale stationary applications,
  • in gas turbines,
  • in pipeline distribution, and
  • in the nuclear industry.

Hydrogen in the UK isn’t new. It was the main part (40-60%) of old ‘Town’ gas, which was used in the UK before North Sea Gas.

Hydrogen is a colourless and odourless gas. As with natural gas, the familiar smell would need to be added to it so customers could detect the smell of gas.

The safety of customers and the general public for gas use in the UK is protected by the Gas Safety (Management) Regulations (GS(M)R). The blend of hydrogen and natural gas for HyDeploy has been approved as a special exemption to these standard regulations following a review of the safety case.

Hydrogen on the gas network in Europe

Across Europe permitted hydrogen levels in the gas supply vary, to a maximum of 12%. Hydrogen and natural gas blends have also previously been used safely in Europe.

A project in Amerland in the Netherlands was safely undertaken to inject hydrogen at up to 20% volume into their natural gas grid for use by domestic consumers.

A trial was successfully carried out by E.ON Technologies in the Klanxbüll/Neukirchen region of Germany where around 170 gas customers were supplied with a natural gas blend containing up to 10% volume hydrogen.

The GRHYD project is currently underway in France. It will be injecting up to 20% vol. hydrogen into natural gas to deliver to around 100 domestic customers and a hospital.

These trials are all different in a number of respects from each other and from HyDeploy. HyDeploy is focused on using an existing gas network and one designed to UK specifications.

If you would like further details of these trials please contact the project team at info@hydeploy.co.uk