National Grid considers partial gas network conversion to hydrogen

Jake Stones

19-Mar-2021

LONDON (ICIS)–On 18 March, UK gas transmission system operator (TSO) National Grid announced a new project to convert 25% of the British grid to carry hydrogen by 2030.

Project Union aims to deliver up to 2000km of hydrogen network that can carry up to a quarter of UK gas demand by 2030.

According to the Oil and Gas Authority, projected gas demand as forecast by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy would be around 61 billion cubic metres (bcm) in 2030, meaning roughly 15bcm of natural gas equivalent of hydrogen would be transported around the country.

Demand in Britain over 2020 according to data recorded by ICIS was 81.4bcm.

The research for the project will review how to convert natural gas pipelines by 2030, when the UK government aims to have 5GW of low-carbon hydrogen production online.

National Grid plans to focus the hydrogen network to connect industrial clusters around the country, linking Grangemouth, Teesside and Humberside, as well as connecting with Southampton, the north west, and south Wales clusters.

UK HYDROGEN PRODUCTION

If all 5GW of low-carbon hydrogen production was dedicated electrolyser capacity, then power demand for this would be 2.86TWh based on a 70% efficiency factor and 4000 load hours over the course of the year.

However, the UK’s cluster projects expected to come online within the next decade outline dedicated blue hydrogen capacity for the generation of low-carbon hydrogen.

The HyNet project in the north west of England could have 300MW of capacity by the middle of the decade, with potential for a further 1500MW by 2030.

BP announced 1GW of blue hydrogen capacity by 2030 at Teesside industrial cluster under the H2Teesside project on 18 March.

Further, Equinor’s H2H Saltend project located at the Humber industrial region should bring 600MW of capacity online around 2030.

The Acorn project in St Fergus Scotland also has the potential for 200MW of capacity by mid-2020s.

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