Northern Gas Networks has unveiled a blueprint for a £22.7 billion hydrogen gas grid serving more than 3.7 million homes and 40,000 businesses in the north of England. The H21 North of England report outlines plans to convert the gas networks in Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, York, Huddersfield, Hull, Liverpool, Manchester, Teesside and Newcastle to run on 100 per cent hydrogen over a period of seven years starting in 2028. The report, produced in partnership with Cadent and Equinor, also proposes a six-phase rollout across the rest of the country which would extend the hydrogen gas grid to a further 12 million homes by 2050. It could eventually provide 70 per cent of all domestic, industrial and commercial heating in the UK. It says the project has the potential to deliver the “deep decarbonisation” of heating, cutting carbon emissions by more than 258 million tonnes per year by 2050 and meeting over 80 per cent of the UK’s remaining reduction target. For the first phase of the project covering the north of England, the fuel would be likely be produced at a 12.15GW facility at Easington near Hull capable of delivering up to 110TWh of heat each year – more than enough to meet the 85TWh of annual demand on the grid. The carbon dioxide released as a by-product of the process would be captured and then stored in saline aquifers under the North Sea. The hydrogen itself would be stored in nearby salt caverns to help meet winter peaks in demand and would be transported to local distribution networks via a new high-pressure transmission system. Over the longer term, the gas could also be extracted by passing surplus renewable electricity through water – a process known as electrolysis.
Utility Week 23rd Nov 2018 read more »
Chris Goodall: The UK’s respected Committee on Climate Change (CCC) reported on the (limited) scope for widespread use of hydrogen in the UK’s energy system. It recommends continued use of cracking of natural gas as the hydrogen manufacturing route, rather than the electrolysis of water. The CCC’s arithmetic seems to me to contain serious errors, including a failure to correctly calculate the cost of the natural gas needed for cracking, and therefore significantly underestimates the underlying cost. It also uses figures for the cost of carbon capture and storage that seem remarkably optimistic. For reasons I don’t understand, the CCC also uses estimates for the efficiency of electrolysis that are several years out of date. This makes a real difference to the costs of renewable hydrogen. The report covers a difficult and complex area but the CCC should have talked to electrolyser manufacturers inside of seeming to solely rely on participants in the natural gas business, who have an interest in fighting electrolysis. The UK’s pre-eminent manufacturer of electrolysers (ITM Power) is tangentially mentioned just once in the 126 page report. No other company is covered at all. Another complaint: virtually no mention of any of the multiple large-scale experiments on hydrogen manufacture going on around the world.
Carbon Commentary 25th Nov 2018 read more »