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Natural gas-to-hydrogen could drive deep decarbonisation in UK

EMEC hydrogen storage cylinders (Credit Colin Keldie)

November 23 (Renewables Now) - Making hydrogen from natural gas and capturing and storing the carbon dioxide (CO2) from that process can result in zero-emission heating for 3.7 million homes and 40,000 businesses in the north of England by 2034, a new report suggests.

The “H21 North of England” study, published Friday, says a gradual rollout could see 12 million more homes in the rest of the UK converted to hydrogen by the middle of the century, supporting the country’s goal of cutting carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 from 1990 levels.

Switching the entire gas grid to hydrogen would result in deep decarbonisation of heat, as well as transport and electricity, with minimal disruption to customers, says the report. А full conversion is estimated to reduce UK carbon emissions by over 258 million tonnes a year by 2050. Of course, having a supportive policy and regulatory framework in place will be key. The report has already been presented to the UK authorities.

Northern Gas Networks led the “H21 North of England” project, partnering with Norwegian oil group Equinor ASA (NYSE:EQNR) and gas network company Cadent.

“This work illustrates how natural gas and the gas infrastructure can be part of the solution also in a low carbon future, where natural gas becomes a destination fuel with zero emissions,” said Pål Eitrheim from the New Energy Solutions division of Equinor.

Equinor has significant experience in carbon capture and storage (CCS) and said in a press release Friday the idea in “H21 North of England” is to store the CO2 from the hydrogen production process in saline aquifers far below the seabed, such as those off the northeast coast of England. Meanwhile, in order to bring hydrogen to the local city grids, the UK will need to build a high-pressure transmission system with extra capacity to enable future supply for industry, power and transport.

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Browse all articles from Tsvetomira Tsanova

Tsvet has been following the development of the global renewable energy industry for seven years now. She's got a soft spot for emerging markets.

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