A new report has proposed that the city of Leeds should convert its gas grid to an all-hydrogen version by 2030 in order to test the viability of using hydrogen to help meet national carbon reduction targets. The Northern Gas Networks (NGN) has fronted the H21 Leeds City Gate project, which lays out the blueprints to convert Leeds into a “hydrogen city”. A new feasibility report from the project organisers has established that a switch away from methane would be “economically viable”. NGN has claimed that the city should be considered as it has the optimal size and location for the conversion, which could start in Leeds by 2026 at the cost of £2bn, before being rolled-out nationally.
Edie 12th July 2016 read more »
Today, natural gas – composed primarily of methane – is used to heat more than 80pc of homes in the UK. When it burns, it releases carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that causes global warming. If Britain is to meet its targets under the Climate Change Act, which requires it to slash greenhouse gas emissions to 20pc of their 1990 levels by 2050, it has to find a different way of heating its homes. As yet, there is no firm plan for how to do so. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the Government’s official adviser, warned last month that emissions savings so far have been almost exclusively in the power sector and that “policies are not in place to broaden the sources of emission reduction”. Decarbonising heat is, as Alan Whitehead MP, former shadow energy minister, put it recently, the “elephant in the room”. Most prescriptions so far have involved “the electrification of the heating system”: replacing gas boilers with either direct electric heating, or heat pumps. “As far as customers are concerned, that does mean, among other things, ripping out all their boilers, ripping out the mains, and replacing those with heat pumps,” Whitehead told the Utility Week Energy Summit. “I would predict that pretty much every customer would regard that transition with some horror.” Iain Conn, chief executive of British Gas owner Centrica, was equally forthright: “We pay 5p/kwh for gas, and 15p/kwh for electricity – so this whole idea of electrifying everything is mad, especially when we have got natural gas plumbed into all of the homes. “And if you electrify everything, what are you going to generate the electricity from? For quite a while I’m afraid it’s going to be more natural gas-fired power stations.” An alternative solution, both men suggested, is not to change the heating system, but to change the gas. “Rather than ripping everything out,” Whitehead proposed, “we look at: can we supply, for example, green gas, or different forms of gas supply into the system? Leaving it substantially as it is but actually changing the carbonisation mix of what goes into it – and giving the customer a much better deal.” Several ‘green’ gas options have been mooted; ‘biomethane’, derived from crops or waste, is already being fed into the UK gas grid at a small scale – but this still produces carbon dioxide when burnt.
Telegraph 11th July 2016 read more »