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A test-bed for future energy solutions

Led by Northern Gas Networks, and in partnership with Northern Powergrid and Newcastle University, InTEGReL is a new integrated energy facility based in Gateshead.

The facility is helping to tackle the UK’s energy challenges head on, with teams of academics and engineers working to deliver breakthroughs in the decarbonisation of heat, energy storage and transport, to identify the most affordable and practical solution to moving customers onto low carbon, low cost energy.

The first projects are now underway on the site.

Frequently asked questions

What is InTEGReL

InTEGReL stands for Integrated Transport Electricity and Gas Research Laboratory and is a fully integrated whole energy systems development and demonstration facility, providing a space for industry, academia, SMEs and government to explore and test new energy technologies, strategies and processes which bring transport, electricity and gas into one place.

Who is behind InTEGReL?

InTEGReL is led by Northern Gas Networks working with Northern Powergrid and Newcastle University, in partnership with the EPSRC Centre for Energy Systems Integration (CESI).

What is the purpose of the centre?

Through collaboration with industry and academia, we’re breaking down traditional barriers between gas, electricity and transport sectors to use their assets in order to deliver a more secure, affordable, low carbon energy system.

Is any of this technology already in use in the UK?

Several technologies are market-ready and being used at scale in Europe and around the world, however in the UK this has been limited due to regulatory restrictions. The transport sector is now starting to embrace hydrogen fuel cells and Northern Gas Networks’ is proud to be one of the first adopters of a Toyota Mirai hydrogen-powered car.

Does the government support the project?

The UK government has supported significant investment in academic research over the last decade and has stated they support full-scale demonstrators helping the UK’s decarbonisation agenda. We believe InTEGReL is front and centre of the Industrial Strategy and now is the time to take academic research forward.

What are the benefits of the use of hydrogen for heat?

Hydrogen has no carbon element, so when it is burned, its by-products are heat and water, making it zero-carbon at the point of use. Generating hydrogen through sustainable sources means its true carbon footprint is very low.

How many jobs will the facility create?

Initiatives such as InTEGReL present a huge opportunity for economic growth through job creation, with hundreds, if not thousands of new job opportunities throughout the North.  We anticipate that once industry and academia work with us to bring projects to InTEGReL, the opportunities generate economic growth will be significant.

Will we see any of the technology implemented soon?

We have a lot of exciting projects lined up, however we need to work with organisations and government to help establish funding streams necessary to develop and demonstrate the concepts and technologies being developed, and thoroughly test them at scale before they can be rolled out to customers.

What measures are you putting in place to ensure minimal impact on the local wildlife?

While the team at InTEGReL is focused on delivering a low carbon energy future for the UK, it is also committed to preserving the amazing wildlife and ecosystem on its doorstep. As it is located on the outskirts of Thornley Woods, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and part of the Derwent Valley Walk, the team is working closely with stakeholders to help protect native species – such as red kites and roe deer – and will be taking every possible step to ensure that the work of the site does not affect the natural habitat.

What impact will this have on customers’ gas and electricity bills?

Northern Gas Networks wants to ensure the work at InTEGReL benefits customers not only in the north but the UK and beyond. At the moment, there are incremental costs associated with three different energy systems. If Northern Gas Networks can bring them together into one system, those costs will reduce and the benefits passed on to customers.

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If you would like to find out more or to get involved we’d love to hear from you.

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