Hydrogen can be used in the place of natural gas for heating and cooking in our homes and businesses as it can create energy in the same way, but it does not produce carbon dioxide, making it a more environmentally friendly source of energy. 

Prior to the switch to natural gas in the 1960s and 70s, the UK used Towns Gas which comprised up to 50% hydrogen. The village of Winlaton, near Gateshead, recently used a blend of up to 20% hydrogen in its natural gas supply and a community in Scotland will use 100% hydrogen from 2024. Whilst hydrogen is not new to the UK’s gas network, the Redcar Hydrogen Community would be amongst the first to use 100% hydrogen. 

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe but is rarely found independently so it has to be produced.  Water is made up of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen H2O). 

Hydrogen can be produced in a multitude of ways and there is currently innovation taking place to find even more ways of producing hydrogen. The main ways in which hydrogen is currently produced are:

Green hydrogen

produced by using electrolysis, powered by renewable energy to split water in hydrogen and oxygen

Blue hydrogen

produced by reforming natural gas, with the carbon captured to reduce emissions

Turquoise hydrogen

produced by reforming natural gas, with the carbon created used to produce carbon black, which has a number of uses

Grey hydrogen

produced by reforming natural gas

The hydrogen used by customers in the Redcar Hydrogen Community will be predominantly green hydrogen.

This means that not only does the hydrogen not produce any carbon when used, it also creates little or no carbon when it is made.

To ensure a continuous supply of hydrogen in the case of severe weather, or lower than expected production, we may use other sources of hydrogen from time to time. This will ensure the hydrogen supply is as resilient as today’s gas supply.

The UK Government has developed a Hydrogen Strategy and, in its Heat and Buildings Strategy pledged to create a hydrogen community of hundreds of homes by 2023 and a hydrogen village of around 2,000 properties using hydrogen by 2025. We’re proposing that the Redcar Hydrogen Community becomes the hydrogen village described in the strategy.

The plan to provide communities with 100% hydrogen has only been made possible following exhaustive research over the last five years to ensure it can be supplied as safely and reliably as natural gas is today.   Hydrogen appliances including boilers, cookers and fires have been developed and these look similar to today’s natural gas appliances and work in the same way, with just a few variations. The appliances are showcased in our Hydrogen Home near Gateshead. 

Watch the Hydrogen Homes video

Watch our hydrogen animation

 

If you would like to learn more about how NGN have been pioneering a UK hydrogen network please visit the H21 website.

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