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First H2 blending on a public gas network to begin in UK

The next phase of a ground-breaking green energy trial that could help Britain dramatically cut its carbon emissions and open the door to a low-carbon hydrogen economy has been given the go-ahead by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The HyDeploy project will blend hydrogen with natural gas on a public gas network in Winlaton, Gateshead operated by Northern Gas Networks.

Heating in the UK is currently responsible for a third of carbon emissions. Because hydrogen produces no carbon at the point of use, it is a viable alternative for heating homes and businesses to achieve the Government’s target of Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050.

HyDeploy is a £22.5 MM Ofgem Network Innovation Competition project delivered by a consortium, including partners Northern Gas Networks, Cadent, Progressive Energy Ltd, Keele University, HSE – Science Division and ITM Power.

The first phase of HyDeploy saw 100 homes and around 30 commercial buildings on a closed network at Keele University successfully use the hydrogen blend for a period of 18 months which ended in the spring.

In a ten-month long pilot, due to start in August, HyDeploy will blend up to 20% of hydrogen (by volume) for 668 homes, a school and some small business in Winlaton.

Customers will continue to use their gas supply and appliances as they do today, without any changes needed to gas appliances or pipework as current gas appliances are designed to operate with a blend of up to 23% hydrogen.

"We’re delighted the HSE has given us the go-ahead for the next phase of HyDeploy at Winlaton. The project will provide more vital evidence about the possibilities of blending hydrogen into the natural gas network across the UK, as a stepping-stone to decarbonising heat with no disruption to customers," said Tim Harwood, Head of Program Management and H21 Project Director at Northern Gas Networks. "We’ve engaged with the community of Winlaton over the past 18 months and, with the support of the Council, undertaken safety checks on their appliances to reassure residents that they can continue to use their gas as normal whilst playing a vital role in the decarbonisation of the gas network."