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Hydrogen blend to heat homes and businesses in north east England

Published January 13, 2021

Hydrogen blend to heat homes and businesses in north east England

Winlaton, a village in the north east of England, will be piloting the use of blended hydrogen for heating, becoming the first public network to do so.

Gas distributors Cadent and Northern Gas Networks and their partners are in charge of the project, dubbed HyDeploy, which they consider “a vital step towards” introducing hydrogen into the public gas network nationally.

Heating makes up half of the UK’s energy consumption and a third of the nation’s carbon emissions. Since hydrogen does not release carbon dioxide when burned, there is a potential to save around 6 million tonnes of CO2 emissions every year if the 20% hydrogen blend were rolled out across the UK.

Beginning in early 2021 and running for around 10 months, 670 homes in Winlaton, as well as the church, primary school and several businesses, will receive a 20% hydrogen blend as part of their existing gas supply. The blend percentage is currently the highest in Europe, and customers do not need to make any changes to their appliances or pipework to accommodate for it, for now. Down the line, should there be a switch to 100% hydrogen, there will be a need for new boilers.

In a comment for the Financial Times, Tim Harwood, H21 Project Director at Northern Gas Networks, said: “The hydrogen blend is sort of a stepping stone towards a 100 percent world, and it will teach us a lot about how we need to do things and also helping the public acceptance as well.”

HyDeploy launched in January of 2020 with its first trial at Keele University, which marked the first time zero carbon hydrogen was injected into the UK’s modern gas grid. Plans for the next stage are to introduce 100 percent heating through hydrogen. The results of the project will be submitted to Government, which will then be able to evaluate and form policies about the future of gas.