Pioneering trial shows vast potential of hydrogen for reducing CO2 in UK gas network

Blending hydrogen into the natural gas network is a viable and promising strategy for vastly reducing CO2 emissions, a pioneering trial has shown.

The results of the HyDeploy trial, led by Cadent Gas in partnership with Keele University, have shown that hydrogen can be blended at up to 20% into natural gas networks with no adverse effects for users, but with the potential to drastically reduce carbon emissions.

The findings of the landmark trial have been published this week and presented at an event in Westminster attended by MPs, and key players in the fields of energy, sustainability and green technology.

The trial ran at Keele University throughout 2020, with 30 campus buildings and 100 private homes on Keele’s gas network using the blended gas for heating and cooking appliances. Keele was the perfect choice for the trial thanks to having its own private gas network, making the campus an ideal place to test new energy technologies at a smaller scale.

The year-long trial saw more than 42,000 cubic metres of hydrogen blended into the gas network, which has resulted in 27 tonnes of CO2 being saved from entering the atmosphere.

If rolled out nationally, a 20% blend of hydrogen could remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere equivalent to taking 2.5m cars off the road, and all without changes to current heating and cooking appliances.

Steve Fraser, Chief Executive of Cadent said: “I would like to thank the customers at Keele University for their willingness to take part in this trial. HyDeploy is a ground-breaking collaboration and has demonstrated very clearly that consumers can safely receive up to 20% hydrogen blended with natural gas, without the need to make any changes to their existing appliances.

“With 8 in 10 of our homes in the UK heated by natural gas – it is an energy we are familiar with. Adopting hydrogen blending across the gas networks would save carbon emissions equivalent to removing 2.5m cars from our roads – a huge step towards Net Zero.

“Importantly customers experienced no disruption and felt positively towards using hydrogen and the trial. Blending hydrogen into the natural gas network is a critical stepping-stone in helping the UK reach Net Zero by 2050.”

Guests at this week’s Westminster event heard positive feedback from residents who used the blended gas during the trial at Keele and reported positive results, with one saying simply: “It works. There’s been no impact in terms of us, we’ve not lost gas at all, there have been no issues with heating whatsoever to the house.”

The residents who took part in the trial were also in favour of the blended gas being rolled out nationally, with one saying: “If the science is saying that it’s going to work and it’s good for us, and it’s better for the planet, then absolutely, I’d be so ready for 100%”.

Professor Trevor McMillan, Vice-Chancellor of Keele University said: “Hydrogen is central to the Government’s plans for a low-carbon society and economy, and the success of this trial represents a crucial step towards hydrogen being implemented more widely in our energy network, with all of the environmental benefits that this will bring. Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do at Keele so we are extremely proud to have been involved in this landmark trial, and we are pleased to hear that our residents and staff who have been using the blended gas have had a positive experience.”

Following the success of the trial at Keele, a further trial is now underway in Winlaton, North East England, to test the blended gas for the first time in a public network.