How are gas network companies using innovation projects to ensure that our energy system remains secure, as we seek to use more hydrogen instead of natural gas? Tony Green, Hydrogen Project Director at National Grid, explains.
When it comes to delivering the energy that we all rely upon, Britain’s gas grid is both remarkably capable and reliable.
With a 99.99% reliability rate, it’s capable of delivering a lot of energy to our homes for heating, cooking and hot water often when it’s most needed, as well as providing energy to our industry and to our power plants for generating electricity.
In fact, our gas networks deliver five times more energy at those times when demand is greatest compared to our electricity networks, to keep our homes warm and our lights on during those cold, dark winter nights.
That’s why replacing that carbon-emitting natural gas with a combination of hydrogen and biomethane, as well as more electricity, is so important.
So as we start to do that, how do we ensure that we keep our energy system both secure and reliable?
Well, it’s all about Britain’s world-leading network innovation projects. Through these projects, we’re using our engineering expertise to ensure that’s the case.
At National Grid, our job is to oversee the delivery of gas supplies around the whole country, so as you might imagine, this is something that we’re paying particular attention to.
Right now, we have two UK projects underway: FutureGrid, which is working with local gas networks to trial hydrogen mixes in different types of gas pipelines, and Project Union, which is exploring the development of a UK hydrogen ‘backbone’ that joins together industrial clusters around the country, so we can transport hydrogen to those businesses easily.
And through Britain’s Hydrogen Network Plan, we’re working with all the other gas networks to answer two big questions “how can we make sure there is enough hydrogen in the system?” and “can we move it around the country, so we can deliver it to the right places at the right time?”.
All of this work is hugely exciting. Here at National Grid we’re proud to be working with the other gas networks through Energy Networks Association’s Gas Goes Green programme, to ensure that tomorrow’s heat, really is today’s opportunity.
Notes to editors
Gas Goes Green #H2Explainers are a series of blogs setting all the key information you need to know about how Britain’s gas networks are working to deliver hydrogen to our homes, as part of our 'Tomorrow's Heat, Today's Opportunity' campaign. Check out the ENA Newsroom to find other articles and updates from both gas and electricity network companies.
About Energy Networks Association
Energy Networks Association (ENA) is the industry body representing the companies which operate the electricity wires, gas pipes and energy system in the UK and Ireland.
ENA helps its members meet the challenge of delivering electricity and gas to communities across the UK and Ireland safely, sustainably and reliably.
Its members include every major electricity and gas network operator in the UK and Ireland, independent operators, National Grid ESO which operates the electricity system in Great Britain and National Grid Gas which operates the gas system in Great Britain. Its affiliate membership also includes companies with an interest in energy, including Heathrow Airport and Network Rail.
What are energy network operators?
Energy network operators manage and maintain the wires, pipes and other infrastructure which delivers electricity and gas to your home, business and community. They are private companies which are regulated by Ofgem and employ around 45,000 people in the UK and Ireland. They are represented by their industry body, Energy Networks Association (that's us).
Energy supplier or network operator? Energy network operators are entirely separate to your energy supplier, which is the company that bills you for using electricity and gas. Energy suppliers and generators are represented by Energy UK.