UK gas network operators have outlined a high-level roadmap aiming to repurpose the existing methane network to carry hydrogen and biogas.
Led by the Energy Networks Association, the operators’ ‘Gas Goes Green’ initiative sets out actions and research needed for delivery this year to enable net zero by mid-century.
Decarbonising gas requires massive investment and unprecedented advances in technology and network operations, says the report. Carbon capture and storage must be proved to pay for itself at utility scale, and a “quantum leap” in energy efficiency is required before all else.
With over 100 green gas plants already connected, operators have expanded supply of biomethane and are starting on hydrogen, the plan notes, thus gathering data on how network upgrades can cut emissions.
Around 85 per cent of Britain’s homes are heated from the gas grid. The proposal’s first steps include making networks hydrogen-ready, in preparation to convert up to 23 million boilers.
The networks also see transport as a major hydrogen consumer over the long term. Automakers, policymakers and fleet operators must work with pipeline firms, they say, to enable a resilient charging network for hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Other identified workstreams focus on changes needed in investment and regulatory frameworks, plus system enhancements and safety certification.
All key proposals must be delivered by this December, per the document. Ex-Cadent CEO Chris Train is the ENA’s choice as ‘green gas czar’ to oversee the work plans.
Details of ‘Gas Goes Green’ can be read here.