Hydrogen mix offers reductions

If Hydrogen could be mixed with natural gas, the resulting new fuel could help reduce emissions considerably, and a live pilot by Keele University is currently testing the technology.

Called HyDeploy, the demonstration project is mixing hydrogen 20/80 per cent with natural gas to power Keele University’s existing gas network, feeding 100 homes and 30 faculty buildings. The 20 per cent hydrogen blend is the highest in Europe, together with a similar project being run by Engie in Northern France.

Backed by Ofgem’s Network Innovation Competition, the £7m project is led by Cadent in partnership with Northern Gas Networks, Keele University, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Science Division, integrated hydrogen energy systems manufacturer ITM-Power, and independent clean energy company Progressive Energy.

The new blend means that customers could continue to use their gas supply as normal, without any changes being needed to gas appliances or pipework, while still cutting carbon emissions. If a 20 per cent blend was rolled out across the country it could save around six million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year.

Professor Mark Ormerod, deputy vice chancellor and provost at Keele University, said: “HyDeploy is a pioneering landmark national demonstration project, using our campus as a genuine 'living laboratory' for low carbon and energy-efficient technologies. HyDeploy has the potential to be hugely impactful and lead to a step change in the reduction of carbon emissions associated with heat.”

The hydrogen is produced by an electrolyser. The electrolyser, produced by the UK-based hydrogen energy solutions provider ITM Power, uses an electrical current to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen.

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