Hydrogen, a carbon-free gas, produces just heat and water when burned and is seen as a potential solution to reducing carbon emissions from heating homes and businesses.
The year-long HyDeploy project, due to start next year, will blend up to 20% of hydrogen with the normal gas supply in part of Keele University’s private gas network, which serves 17 faculty buildings and 100 domestic properties.
The HSE granted HyDeploy an exemption to the current limit of 0.1% hydrogen in the UK gas network after the project gathered extensive evidence to show the hydrogen blend would be “as safe as natural gas”.
The £7 million project is being led by gas network Cadent, in partnership with the university, Northern Gas Networks and a consortium of technical experts and is backed by Ofgem’s Network Innovation Competition.
According to Cadent, if hydrogen was blended with natural gas across the UK at a similar level to the project, it could save around six million tonnes of carbon emissions every year – equivalent to taking 2.5 million cars off the road.
Simon Fairman, Director of Safety and Network Strategy at Cadent said: “The importance of this trial to the UK is unmeasurable. This is the first ever practical demonstration of hydrogen in the modern gas network in the UK. Hydrogen has the potential to address one of the most difficult sources of carbon emissions – heat.
“This trial could pave the way for a wider roll out of hydrogen blending, enabling us to begin cutting carbon emissions from heat as early as the mid-2020s, without customers needing to change their gas appliances or behaviour.”