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UK could use hydrogen as industrial and domestic fuel in proposed trial

07 August 2017

According to the Guardian, Liverpool and Manchester could be the testbed for an ambitious £600m project designed to reduce the carbon footprint of the gas used in the industrial and domestic sectors. Cadent, previously National Grid Gas Distribution Limited, will provide 100% hydrogen fuel to existing industrial methane (natural gas) users, and a mix of methane and hydrogen to millions of domestic users.

Stock image
Stock image

The industrial side of the programme, targeted at large gas users such as chemicals and oil refining companies in the north-west, will require the installation of new boilers to burn the pure hydrogen. Cadent will provide a gas mixture containing 20% hydrogen to domestic users, which will enable existing home boilers and hobs to continue to be used.

Whether the project goes ahead depends on tests underway on a private gas network at Keele University to identify how much hydrogen can safely be mixed in with methane for heating.

An investment decision in the early 2020s would mean construction starting in the middle of the next decade.

Carbon savings will come from producing the hydrogen from natural gas through steam reforming, and capturing the carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide generated during the process.

The captured carbon would be pumped using existing pipelines and stored in the Hamilton gas field in the Irish sea, which is due to be decommissioned in the early 2020s – a cost that could be avoided if the facility is repurposed as a repository for carbon.

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