UK gas networks join forces for net zero

Article by Adam Duckett

THE engineering expertise of the UK’s gas network operators have joined forces to outline how to achieve net zero emissions.

The Gas Goes Green programme has established a steering group made up of the five operators (National Grid, Wales & West Utilities, Northern Gas Networks, Cadent, and SGN) that will oversee six workstreams that will help achieve net zero emissions.

This includes assessing the timeline for policy and safety regulations changes needed to develop net zero clusters, with a report expected in October. Alongside this, it will publish a review of the options for hydrogen storage, production locations and CCUS implications.

Launching the initiative, the Energy Networks Association (ENA) said: “The gas we deliver plays a critical role in our everyday lives, generating electricity, fuelling vehicles, heating our homes and providing the significant amounts of energy UK heavy industry needs.”

“This is a blueprint to meet the challenges and opportunities of climate change, delivering net zero in the most cost effective and least disruptive way possible.”

The UK Government has set a target to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and while good progress is being made to reduce emissions from power supply, Ofgem notes that in 2017 just 4.5% of the energy used for heating in the UK was from a low-carbon source.

To enable more distributed suppliers to connect to the grid, such as anaerobic digestion facilities producing biomethane, the initiative has formed a dedicated Decentralised Gas Forum to look at what changes are needed to gas entry and exit connections, and to assets such as pipelines, plant and equipment. Anyone interested in joining the group should email:

The Gas Goes Green blueprint builds on recommendations from a consultation that ENA commissioned last year. This suggested a pathway to achieve net zero with the first hydrogen projects integrated with CCS coming online from 2025. These would be anchored with baseload consumers like industry alongside small-scale hydrogen storage.

From 2030, networks would begin supplying non-industry users with blends of hydrogen and biomethane. These clusters would spread and connect from 2035 with electrolysis powered by renewable energy producing greater supplies of hydrogen. By 2050, all gas supplied would be hydrogen or biomethane, with the CO2 from any reformed natural gas captured and stored.

To read more about the hydrogen economy and the engineering challenges involved, read our series in partnership with IChemE Clean Energy Special Interest Group.

Article by Adam Duckett

Editor, The Chemical Engineer

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