H21 Leeds City Gate
The UK is facing a huge challenge. The 2008 Climate Change Act commits the UK to reducing 1990 carbon levels by 80%, by the year 2050. Heat currently accounts for over 30% of our carbon emissions and 80% of domestic households in the UK use natural gas to heat their homes. Decarbonising heat in a way that is affordable, reliable, sustainable and secure is potentially the biggest challenge the energy sector has yet to face, and one that requires pioneering thinking.
Led by Northern Gas Networks, the gas distributer for the North of England, the H21 Leeds City Gate feasibility study was launched in Westminster in 2016. Using Leeds as a blueprint, the study found it is technically possible and economically viable to decarbonise large parts of the UK gas grid at minimal cost to customers. This will be undertaken via an incremental conversion of our major cities’ natural gas supply to 100% hydrogen. Once implemented this would represent the single most significant contribution to UK decarbonisation.
When burned, hydrogen, unlike natural gas, produces no carbon - only heat and water. A nationwide gas mains replacement programme is currently underway on the UK gas network to replace old metal mains with new, more durable plastic pipes. These replacement pipes are able to transport green gases such as hydrogen, futureproofing the network for the next 100 years.
The H21 project is now focusing on the next steps and launched a dedicated project office in Leeds earlier this year, to deliver innovation projects with a strategic focus on providing compelling evidence to support a UK gas grid conversion to zero-carbon hydrogen.
Bringing together a team of specialists from across the energy sector, academia, government and business, the team will further examine and build upon the foundations to deliver the strategy set out in the H21 feasibility study.
This includes a £15m UK gas industry collaborative Network Innovation Competition bid to demonstrate the safety evidence for a grid conversion to hydrogen.
Visit www.northerngasnetworks.co.uk to learn more about H21