Gas distributor Cadent has been approved funding to investigate sites in the Whitby area of Ellesmere Port near Liverpool on Britain’s northwest coast and Northern Gas Networks has been approved to investigate sites in Redcar on Teesside on the northeast coast.
The Cadent project has a cost of £8.4 million ($10.3 million), of which £3.38 million ($4.65 million) will be provided via Ofgem, while Northern Gas Networks’ project is costed at £6.38 million ($7.81 million) with £5.74 million ($7.02 million) via Ofgem.
The objective of the projects is to undertake detailed design studies including stakeholder engagement and the procurement and engineering research required, in order to enable a future decision on whether to proceed with the build and operation stages of a village trial in 2023.
In its decision document, Ofgem, the energy regulator, says the thinking was there is value in funding both studies, with both having clear plans and demonstrating a diversity of information that will be captured as they progress, contributing to the evidence base on hydrogen for heating.
The Village trial is intended to provide a range of evidence to support the government to assess the feasibility, costs and benefits of a possible transition to hydrogen primarily for heating and enabling a policy decision on whether or not the gas networks should be converted at scale for the use of hydrogen.
The Village trial, building on the smaller H100 Neighbourhood trial led by Scottish Gas Networks, is expected to involve between 1,000 and 2,000 homes and other buildings to generate evidence of rollout methods and conversion processes and to produce representative findings from a diverse range of participants and building types.
The trial is anticipated to be operational for a minimum of 12 months. Following a further decision on the go ahead, it should start in 2025.
Marc Clarke, Head of Hydrogen Consumer at Cadent, said the project puts Whitby in Ellesmere Port right at the heart of a lower carbon future for the country as a whole.
“Previous projects have clearly shown hydrogen’s potential, and now, with this scheme, we are showing how hydrogen can be used at scale to cut emissions from heating and cooking,” he said.
“We already know that Whitby has an unparalleled geographic location for hydrogen. The northwest is already on track to produce the low carbon hydrogen required for the scheme from Ellesmere Port’s HyNet project, and we have been undertaking work over the past few years to ensure the region’s pipes are ready to take hydrogen.”
Mark Horsley, CEO of Northern Gas Networks said that Teesside has a proud industrial heritage and is now embracing the green industrial revolution with a proposed local green hydrogen production.
“Heating homes and businesses with this homegrown hydrogen, which will be stored locally, is a logical step as part of our work to bring sustainable, affordable and secure energy supplies to customers and communities throughout the north of England.”