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Costain has produced a feasibility study that will contribute to ongoing assessments of the ability to use the existing UK gas distribution network to transport hydrogen.
The project is the first to bring together all the gas
distribution networks, working collaboratively.
A process called hydrogen deblending would allow for a
varying mix of hydrogen and natural gas to flow through the network, before the
two gases were separated so a controlled blend can be supplied to the customer.
Costain said the method meant that hydrogen could be
supplied to those who are ready and prevented from being received by those who
The study is funded under the Network Innovation Allowance
(NIA), which is available for gas and electricity network operators to fund
innovative projects which have the potential to deliver benefits to network
customers. The objective is to provide evidence as to the technical and
commercial feasibility of using deblending to support the transition of the UK
National Transmission System and Gas Distribution Networks to a 100% hydrogen
Blending hydrogen into the existing natural gas pipeline
network to relatively low concentrations (less than 20% hydrogen) has already
been proposed as a means of transporting hydrogen without significantly
increasing the risks associated with utilisation of the gas blend in end-use
devices (such as household appliances), overall public safety, or the
durability and integrity of the existing natural gas pipeline network.
Costain said deblending could provide a means to transition
from a 20% to a 100% hydrogen network, providing customers with the options for
either pure hydrogen, hydrogen/natural gas blends or natural gas.
It added that adopting the method could help avoid the cost,
estimated at billions of pounds, of building dedicated hydrogen pipelines.
Using the operational data provided by the gas network
partners, Costain evaluated the techno-economic feasibility of deblending
schemes, and carried out technical evaluation and selection of technologies for
hydrogen recovery and purification, development of process schemes, plant
designs and cost estimates.
Rob Phillips, energy sector director, Costain, said:
“Achieving near 100% decarbonisation of the gas grid will be an essential step
in meeting the UK’s commitment to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and
is something Costain is committed to driving forward as part of our climate
change action plan. Our expertise in deblending offers yet another low carbon
solution that will be key to minimising the cost of decarbonising energy