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A pioneering green energy trial – the first of its kind in the UK – launched today could help cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions caused by heating homes.

Led by gas network Cadent, in partnership with Northern Gas Networks and a consortium of technical experts, the HyDeploy project is exploring the potential of injecting zero-carbon hydrogen into the natural gas network.

Backed by OFGEM’s Network Innovation Competition, HyDeploy aims to establish the potential for blending hydrogen, up to 20%, into the normal gas supply to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. It is working towards a one-year live trial on part of Keele University’s private gas network, starting in 2019.

It will determine the level of hydrogen which could be used by gas customers safely, and with no changes to their behaviour or existing domestic appliances.

This could ultimately inform a pathway towards a wider hydrogen network, supporting industry and transport as well as the domestic customer.

Many experts see hydrogen as an adaptable alternative to fossil fuels because when hydrogen is burned it doesn’t produce CO2, just water and heat.

Although ‘Town’ gas, used in the UK gas network until the 1970s, was made up of up to 60% hydrogen, HyDeploy will be the first time many of the customers at Keele University will have experienced using hydrogen for energy in their homes.

The Health & Safety Laboratory is overseeing all safety aspects of HyDeploy, providing expert, impartial advice to the project.

As part of Phase 1 of HyDeploy, gas safety checks are being carried out in the homes and buildings in the trial area.

Laboratory tests have also been carried out on a range of common household gas appliances as well as extensive research on the effects of hydrogen on the different materials found on the gas pipe network.

Keele has the largest university campus in the UK with 12,000 students and staff. With 350 mixed-use buildings, the campus provides domestic properties, university facilities and a science park, giving the campus a profile similar to the size of a small town.

The results of HyDeploy could provide a platform for a trial on a public network, and wider roll out.

David Parkin, Director of Safety & Network Strategy at Cadent, said: “Cadent are very excited to be leading the HyDeploy project which will be the first live trial of hydrogen in a modern UK gas network. HyDeploy will provide important practical evidence to help us understand how hydrogen could help to reduce carbon emissions from heat in a practical and affordable way for UK customers.”

Mark Horsley, CEO of Northern Gas Networks, said: “HyDeploy is a pioneering project taking place at an extremely exciting time for the UK’s energy industry as we work towards a cleaner and greener future.

“The UK gas network has a vital role to play in the decarbonisation of heat and transport, and HyDeploy is an important stepping stone to wider deployment of clean, cost-effective hydrogen that can keep our homes warm, fuel vehicles and power industry.”

Professor Mark Ormerod, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Provost at Keele University, said: “Energy and sustainability is a key overarching institutional priority for Keele University, and we are delighted to be a partner in this important, highly relevant and prestigious project. This collaborative project tackles one of the major societal challenges and has the potential to be highly impactful and lead to a significant reduction in carbon emissions”.

The launch of HyDeploy was supported by an event on 27th February, featuring a project overview, Q&A from a panel of the project team and a keynote speech from Sir Edward Davey MP on the current challenges the UK faces in reducing CO2 emissions.

To find out more visit: www.hydeploy.co.uk