UK to modify natural gas Infrastructure for hydrogen

As the excitement surrounding green hydrogen grows, a number of energy companies and governments are looking into the possibility of adapting current natural gas infrastructure to carry hydrogen as the globe moves away from fossil fuels. In an effort to determine if this vision can come true, the U.K. has now revealed a brand-new development in which a hydrogen-gas project is being tested.

Instead of building an altogether new network of plants and pipes, the U.K. will test combining existing gas infrastructure with hydrogen to see if this infrastructure can be transformed to be utilised in renewable energy projects. To incorporate the energy carrier into the current infrastructure, London-listed Centrica wants to inject hydrogen into a gas-fired, grid-connected power station. In a gas peaking facility in Lincolnshire, east England, the trial will last 12 months.

The 49-megawatt facility was “designed to meet demand during peak times or when generation from renewables is low, typically operating for less than three hours per day,” according to Centrica. It added, “Mixing hydrogen in with natural gas reduces the overall carbon intensity. t’s anticipated that during the trial, getting underway in Q3 2023, no more than three percent of the gas mix could be hydrogen, increasing to 20% incrementally after the project.”

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has emphasised the potential of hydrogen, particularly green hydrogen which is created using electrolysis to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen and is derived from renewable energy sources. It anticipates the development of hydrogen as a crucial green energy source with numerous uses, such as for cooking, heating, and vehicle propulsion. According to the IEA, hydrogen is a flexible energy source that may be applied in a wide range of sectors.

In Europe, there are already a number of significant hydrogen projects under work, with Spain now leading the way. In collaboration with the Port of Rotterdam, the Spanish company Cepsa announced in October that it would create the first green hydrogen corridor connecting southern and northern Europe. This came after the European Commission declared in September that it will fund hydrogen projects throughout Europe with $5.13 billion. This is in line with the EU goal of putting in place 40 GW of renewable hydrogen electrolyzers in the area by 2030.

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