The North of England’s gas distributor, Northern Gas Networks (NGN), has announced it is collaborating with BP to explore the potential of hydrogen for meeting the Government’s target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Unlike the natural gas currently transported through the UK’s gas network, hydrogen produces no carbon when burned, making it a viable green fuel for homes and industry in a net zero future.
NGN and BP have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on hydrogen, reflecting the synergies between NGN’s vision to decarbonise the gas network via a hydrogen conversion and BP’s ambition to develop large-scale hydrogen production facilities.
BP has announced it is developing plans for the UK’s largest blue hydrogen production facility at a site in Teesside, targeting 1GW of hydrogen production by 2030.
The initial focus of NGN’s work with BP will be a number of studies to ensure that the hydrogen production facility is ideally placed to meet the demands of industrial and domestic consumers in the Teesside area.
Mark Horsley, Chief Executive Officer at NGN, said: “It’s fantastic to see BP planning to invest in hydrogen production at Teesside, placing our region at the forefront of a green recovery.
“We’re very excited to be working with BP to explore further the potential of a hydrogen gas network to play a lead role in industrial and domestic heat decarbonisation. Ahead of COP 26 in November, collaborations such as this demonstrate the scale of the ambition to meet the net zero challenge and support the UK’s transition to a zero-carbon energy system.”
Louise Jacobsen Plutt, BP’s senior vice president for hydrogen and CCUS said: “We are very excited to work with NGN on decarbonising the gas network via hydrogen conversion. Developing hydrogen into gas networks is a key part of bringing the benefits of hydrogen to as many people as possible. NGN has shown great leadership in collaborating with partners in order to meet net zero ambitions.”
As lead partner in the H21 project, NGN is spearheading a suite of pioneering gas industry projects, aimed at proving that the existing UK gas network can be converted to transport 100% hydrogen.
The projects have already demonstrated that it is economically and financially viable for the UK’s gas network to be repurposed to carry hydrogen and areas of focus now include assessing the changes needed to operational procedures to ensure a hydrogen gas network can be run as safely and reliably as today’s natural gas network.
In addition, NGN is partnering with the government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and fellow gas distribution network company Cadent to build the first houses to demonstrate the use of hydrogen-fuelled appliances.
The houses, at NGN’s Low Thornley site near Gateshead will be opening to the public in summer 2021 to showcase hydrogen appliances which look and feel like those used today, but create no carbon.
From spring 2021, the community of Winlaton near Gateshead will see 670 properties receive a blend of 20% hydrogen as part of the HyDeploy project, subject to Health and Safety Executive approval.
HyDeploy is demonstrating that a blend of hydrogen can be introduced to the gas network without impacting customers, providing a potential stepping-stone to 100 per cent hydrogen gas networks in the future.