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UK's National Grid granted £1.5m in funding for innovation projects to accelerate progress towards Net Zero

02 March 2022

The UK’s National Grid Gas Transmission and National Grid Electricity Transmission have been granted £1.5m from Ofgem’s Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) for 13 innovation projects. The projects include innovative uses of hydrogen in the gas national transmission system and using satellite data analytics to further increase resilience of electricity network to the impacts of climate change.

Image: National Grid
Image: National Grid

National Grid has been granted strategic innovation funding of £1.5m by Ofgem, the energy regulator, for 13 innovation projects that will accelerate Great Britain’s progress towards delivering a net zero energy network at the lowest cost to consumers.

Image: National Grid Gas Transmission is starting to test the suitability of its transmission system to transport hydrogen, including the use of decommissioned equipment

National Grid Gas Transmission has been granted £1.1m funding for 10 projects, advancing work investigating the use of hydrogen in the national gas system and further unlocking gas’s role as a key enabler in the transition to net zero.
National Grid Electricity Transmission has been awarded £400k for three projects that will help develop a net zero electricity network – including replacing greenhouse gas SF6 with a low carbon alternative as well as utilising satellite data analytics to future proof against the impacts of climate change.

These projects, led by National Grid’s innovation teams, are part of the group’s work enabling a cleaner energy system – facilitating a fully decarbonised and flexible electricity grid through connecting increased levels of renewable power, and enabling the decarbonisation of gas through investing in a range of solutions like renewable natural gas and blending hydrogen in our network.
Antony Green, National Grid Gas Transmission’s Hydrogen Director said: “The scale of the net zero challenge is significant. As a team in Gas Transmission, we really embraced the SIF process and submitted a number of well-rounded project proposals that are central to overcoming this challenge.

“I’m delighted that we have received funding for 10 projects. These will all help demonstrate how we will transition from the National Transmission System of today to the gas network of the future.”

Alexander Yanushkevich, National Grid Electricity Transmission’s Innovation Manager said: “These ambitious, innovative projects have the potential to shape the future electricity network, accelerating the transition to net zero at the same time as delivering significant benefits to consumers. The most successful of the feasibility study projects can go on to receive further funding and we look forward to taking each project forward and helping these new technologies become a reality.”

The projects are funded by energy network users and consumers through Ofgem’s SIF managed in partnership with Innovate UK. The Discovery is the first phase of a three-phase SIF competition grant focused on a solution feasibility study to identify challenges and benefits to end consumers.

National Grid Gas Transmission has been granted funding for 10 projects:

1. HyNTS compression investigates the key challenges associated with compression of hydrogen using existing national transmission system (NTS) assets. This work will determine the most cost-effective compression option for hydrogen gas networks and demonstrate the proposed system.  This discovery phase will consider several sites for demonstration including the FutureGrid site enabling Phase 2 of the facility and building on this UK facility for testing and training. [Whole System Integration]

2. HyNTS deblending develops a skid mounted gas separation system that is scaled for extracting gas blends from the NTS and providing the right gases to our customers.  This project develops this solution alongside refueling automotive applications which require 100% hydrogen with high purity levels. [Zero Emission Transport]

3. Ch4rge emissions capture will determine and demonstrate capture and recompression technologies that can be deployed on the existing gas network, to eliminate emissions from compressor leaks. [Heat]

4. Gas Analyser Systems for Hydrogen Blends aims to demonstrate a fuel cell gas analyser technology that enables the compositional analysis of blends of hydrogen and natural gas up to 100% hydrogen in the NTS. [Data and Digitalisation]

5. HyNTS pipeline dataset addresses several challenges regarding the inline inspection of hydrogen assets around both the pre assessment prior to hydrogen injection and post injection inspection. The project will consider the feasibility of utilising current systems and the integration of novel inspection tools and techniques. [Data and Digitalisation]

6. Green hydrogen injection into the NTS focuses on the commercial and technical challenges of injecting and blending small volumes of ‘green’ hydrogen into the NTS. [Whole System Integration]

7. Nuclear net zero opportunities (N-NZO) will look at how nuclear hydrogen both at a large and small scale can provide consistent hydrogen injection into the UK gas networks, whilst considering the wider impact on balancing between electricity and gas network systems.  [Whole System Integration]

8. Gas network interoperable digital twin looks to develop an interoperable digital system and twin of the Gas Transmission and Gas Distribution networks, linking into the wider energy networks.  [Data and Digitalisation]

9. Hydrogen metering will investigate how gas metering will change as the network is transitioned to hydrogen and will develop solutions for blends of hydrogen and natural gas, whilst considering the possibility of variability in the blends.  [Data and Digitalisation]

10. Hydrogen barrier coatings for gas network assets investigates the potential for deployment of hydrogen barrier coatings to protect and extend the lifetime of our assets. A potential solution is through electrodeposition of thin metallic layers onto the internal surface of pipelines and other assets which will be considered alongside other coating systems and pipeline materials. [Heat]

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