Centrica is set to support National Grid to establish methods for injecting green hydrogen into the National Transmission System (NTS).

To meet the net zero targets set by the UK government, the UK gas networks need to decarbonise. National Grid, alongside CNG Services, Element Energy and Centrica, have been granted £114,652 for a discovery phase project as part of Ofgem’s Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) competition.

Currently, there is no formal process in place for injecting green hydrogen, made from electrolysis using surplus renewable electricity, into the NTS – in large part because it is a relatively new process and up until now it has not been required.

While there is an established process in place for large entry and exit connections, previous innovation projects such as this have led to the creation of an improved process for smaller connections such as biomethane.

The project, the first of three phases, will build on the outcomes of previous projects, to fully understand what’s needed to establish a connections process for injecting green hydrogen into the NTS. Alongside this, it will review the economics of both green hydrogen production and injection, to inform the development of appropriate financial incentives.

If successful, this project (and the potential follow-up phases) will enable excess renewable electricity to be used to create hydrogen, which can then be injected into the gas network – an example of a ‘whole system’ approach to reaching net zero.

The project would also likely see National Grid Gas Transmission include hydrogen injection in their connections policy and would create the necessary conditions for increased investment in green hydrogen production.

John Baldwin, Managing Director of CNG Services, said, “We are very pleased to support National Grid in this initiative which builds on the successful development of the biomethane market in the UK.  The NTS is a particularly valuable asset for the creation of a Green Hydrogen market with prospects for significant investment in the next few years as Green H2 coupled with a Guarantee of Origin system helps I&C customers to replace the natural gas they consume.”

William Mezzullo, Head of Hydrogen at Centrica, said, “The ambition of this project is to help understand and overcome some of the barriers to realising an emissions free hydrogen gas grid. We see hydrogen as having an important role in helping our customers transition to net zero by 2050.”

Ian Walker, a Partner at Element Energy, said, “Transitioning to low carbon gases in the gas network has the potential to play a key role in decarbonising the energy system.  In this project, Element Energy will assess the economics of producing green H2 for injection into the gas transmission network and identify the conditions necessary to make projects attractive to investors.”

This project is funded by energy network users and consumers through the Strategic Innovation Fund, a programme from the UK’s independent energy regulator Ofgem, managed in partnership with Innovate UK.