Northern Gas Networks (NGN) and hydrogen technology specialist ITM Power have completed a feasibility study on the potential for large-scale power-to-gas facilities in the UK.
Power-to-gas is the process of converting surplus power into hydrogen via electrolysis and then injecting the hydrogen into the gas network. The scheme can use existing energy grids and allows for significant energy storage. If the surplus power is generated from renewable energy sources, then the hydrogen will have a greener production process and can be used to decarbonise the gas network.
The study examined the potential for using large-scale 50 MW storage capacity within NGN’s grid and found that a large area of the existing grid could support power-to-gas, after accounting for seasonal variations in gas demand and the amount of hydrogen that could be produced.
Factors considered when choosing the potential sites were pressure, gas flows, seasonal variations in demand, and grid infrastructure. Four potential sites were identified, and NGN’s existing site in Gateshead was highlighted as the best location for a demonstration plant with between 50 and 100 MW capacity.
Up to 20% hydrogen could be blended with natural gas to provide greener gas to over 243,000 domestic and industrial customers. It would also provide hydrogen to a refuelling station that would enable hydrogen-powered vehicles to travel from London to Aberdeen.
The report recommends that a study is performed on the feasibility of building a large-scale power-to-gas demonstrator at the Gateshead site.
“Power-to-gas technology has the potential to answer some of our key energy storage challenges because of the gas network’s sheer size and flexibility,” said Mark Horsley, CEO of NGN. “This study has delivered some compelling results and insight into how a whole systems approach and green hydrogen can facilitate decarbonisation across all energy vectors.”