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Climate change is happening, and urgent action is needed. Our use of fossil fuels, including the fossil gas that flows through our pipes for energy, emits carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, known to contribute to harmful climate change.
To give you an idea of the task ahead of us as a country, to reach net zero, we need to reduce the average household’s CO2 emissions by a massive 95%.
We need to transition to low carbon energy alternatives, like hydrogen, as quickly as possible if we’re to give ourselves the best chance of reaching net zero carbon emissions and avoiding the worst impacts of climate change.
HyDeploy is providing evidence to help decarbonise our industry and homes by providing low carbon hydrogen to replace a proportion of fossil gas, a fossil fuel, paving the way for a more sustainable future.
Hydrogen is colourless, odourless, tasteless, and non-toxic. It’s a fossilly occurring element but it needs to be produced through an industrial process. Low-carbon hydrogen must therefore be manufactured to enable its use.
Currently, most UK homes rely on fossil gas for heating, hot water, and cooking. Hydrogen is one option for changing to a low carbon economy because, when burned, it doesn’t produce harmful CO2 emissions.
It can be easily transported to the homes and businesses that are connected to the UK’s existing network of gas pipes. Plus, the boilers used in 85% of the UK’s homes can be replaced with versions that run on hydrogen over time, together with appliances like cookers and fires and gas meters.
Yes. The gas industry has been managing the safe delivery of gas for 200 years. For the purposes of the live trials, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has already approved the use of blended gas as being as safe as fossil gas, and therefore legally compliant gas.
That doesn’t mean we can just start piping gas into people’s homes though, as we need approval from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) and Ofgem (our regulator) before hydrogen becomes the norm.
That’s one of the reasons HyDeploy is so important, where our work on blending up to 20% hydrogen with fossil gas has been approved by the HSE and the lessons we learn from these trials can make the case for future blending within the gas network.
Northern Gas Networks is overseeing the safe management of the trial in Winlaton and highly qualified Gas Safe engineers completed the safety checks in the properties being supplied.
Blending breaks the historical ‘chicken and egg’ cycle that has held back the introduction of low carbon hydrogen into our mainstream gas supply. By blending gas, we can break the chain between generating at-scale hydrogen production and the need for large-scale investment in its infrastructure. Blending allows production to make the first step in market creation as the appliances people already have can be reused. Using an existing supply or demand is critical to generating new markets.
The two most successful low-carbon markets the UK has created to date include wind generation and electric vehicles. The success of these two markets was made possible because the initial introduction of the technologies utilised existing supply chains. For example, wind generation used existing electricity demand markets, and electric vehicles utilised existing electricity generation markets. For hydrogen to follow the same path to success, we should apply the same economic rules by using the existing gas demand technologies via blending.
We are currently testing and trialling blended hydrogen in specific locations agreed with HSE and Ofgem. The UK Government intends to sanction hydrogen blending by 2023, subject to positive safety and economic assessments. HyDeploy is providing the safety evidence for this policy decision to take place.
Since 1996, the Gas Appliance Directive has required all gas appliances to be tested on a blend of 23% hydrogen before being approved for market and sold to customers. Therefore, appliances do not need to be changed and will operate, look, or feel the same as before.
No, people who received blended hydrogen in their homes during the trials did not notice any change. Overall, during our trials in Keele and Winlaton, people have noticed no difference in their gas supply or the way their appliances at home behaved.
Keele University has conducted extensive social science research with those who have received the blended gas, with positive results found – consumers who experienced a hydrogen blend were found to be more receptive to the idea of having 100% hydrogen heating – demonstrating why hydrogen blending is vital for normalising and socialising hydrogen for heat. One participant said “I’m saving carbon by doing nothing, where else can you do that?”.