Keele’s green energy ‘HyDeploy’ trial showcased at the United Nations COP24

Keele University’s innovative green energy trial ‘HyDeploy’ has been presented at the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24).

HyDeploy partners from UK Government and Northern Gas Networks have presented the project - the first trial of its kind in the UK - which has helped pave the way for a national green energy trial that could help Britain dramatically cut its carbon emissions and open the door to a low-carbon hydrogen economy.

In a year-long pilot, due to start next year, HyDeploy will blend up to 20% of hydrogen (by volume) with the normal gas supply in part of Keele University’s private gas network, serving 17 faculty buildings and 100 domestic properties. Customers will continue to use gas as they do today, without any changes needed to gas appliances or pipework.

The Keele campus was viewed as the perfect test site, with the University owning and operating its own private gas network, independent of the UK’s wider gas network, as well as the University’s sustainability ethos and expertise.

Professor Mark Ormerod, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Provost of Keele University, said:

“Energy and sustainability is a key overarching institutional priority for Keele University, and we are delighted to be a partner in this important, highly relevant and prestigious project. This collaborative project tackles one of the major societal challenges and has the potential to be highly impactful and lead to a significant reduction in carbon emissions. It is fantastic to see HyDeploy showcased at the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24).”

In November, Ofgem announced it was approving £14.9 million in funding for the next phase of HyDeploy - two field trials on public gas networks, blending hydrogen with natural gas to heat homes. Over the course of the four-year programme, starting in 2019, the team behind ‘HyDeploy2’ will monitor the performance and safety of using hydrogen in this way.

Heat currently contributes to a third of the UK’s carbon emissions. Reducing the carbon intensity of heating using green gases such as blended hydrogen has the potential to contribute to the UK’s substantial carbon savings commitments, with minimal disruption to customers, as it uses their current gas supply and needs no changes to the existing pipework or appliances.

If hydrogen were blended with natural gas across the UK at a similar level to HyDeploy, it could save around six million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year, the equivalent of taking 2.5 million cars off the road.

The HyDeploy project will be the first UK practical deployment of hydrogen onto a live gas network since the transition from town gas. Successful demonstration of the project has the potential to unlock savings of £8 billion to customers and avoid 120 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

Keele University’s Institute for Sustainable Futures is leading the way in SMART and low carbon energy research, using Keele’s unique campus setting as a ‘living laboratory’ where innovative approaches to low carbon energy can be trialled. Key to this is the HyDeploy project, a pioneering hydrogen energy project which aims to reduce UK carbon dioxide CO2 emissions through blending Hydrogen with natural gas for cooking and heating buildings and homes across the private gas network on Keele University’s campus.

Professor Chris Fogwill, Director of Keele’s Institute for Sustainable Futures, states:

“HyDeploy will provide the first at-scale demonstration of blended Hydrogen in the UK, and is driven by the UK’s commitment to a reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of 80% by 2050 guided by the UN Paris Climate Agreement. Given that the implementation of the Paris Agreement is a key focus of discussions at the Katowice COP24 Meeting, it presents an ideal opportunity to highlight HyDeploy.”

Zoe Robinson, Director of Education for Sustainability at Keele University, said:

"The HyDeploy project on the Keele campus gives us the opportunity to understand the consumer experience surrounding sustainable energy transition developments in the gas supply. Understanding of the social aspects and how this influences customer acceptance is as important as our learning about the technical aspects, and HyDeploy at Keele gives us the chance to increase our understanding of both.”