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Where there’s muck, there’s gas

27 August 2020


ENA’s Gas Goes Green programme will deliver the world’s first zero carbon gas grid, helping meet the UK’s net zero carbon emissions target.

To do that, it will make the changes needed to move Britain's gas network infrastructure from delivering methane-based natural gas to zero carbon hydrogen and biomethane.

As the operator of Britain’s gas ‘National Transmission System,' National Grid is responsible for the operation of the high-pressure, long-distance gas pipelines that transport gas the length and breadth of the country. Following a major announcement earlier this month, read on to find out more about how National Grid is using biomethane to do that.

As biomethane is connected into the national gas transmission network for the first time, farms can produce not just the food we eat but some of the fuel to cook that food and heat our homes too. Cows might not be the most obvious source of fuel but a Cambridgeshire farm is the first to show how at least some of the gas we use to heat homes or cook food might have been produced with bovine friends as a starting point. 

Somerset Farm, owned by Biocow, has established a system to produce the clean, renewable biogas, biomethane, from cow waste. In a process known as anaerobic digestion, the waste is sealed in tanks without oxygen, where the material is then broken down by naturally occurring micro-organisms and biogas is produced.  

Now, for the first time in Great Britain, biomethane from the farm is being fed into the national gas network where it is then mixed in with regular methane. The plant will support up to 15,000 cubic metres per hour of biogas flows which is enough renewable gas to supply ten households every hour.

Ian Radley, Head of Gas System Operations, National Grid said, ‘Alongside hydrogen, biomethane will play a critical role in the journey to Britain achieving net zero. We’ve collaborated closely with Biocow on this innovative project to ensure we met its needs and ultimately successfully connected its site to the National Transmission System, supporting the transition to a low carbon economy and paving the way for similar projects in the future.” 

Want to know more about how biogas works and how it’s produced? Read National Grid's Energy explained guide.  

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About Energy Networks Association

Energy Networks Association (ENA) is the industry body representing 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 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 40,000 people in Great Britain.

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