Consumers require a reliable energy supply that they can afford. This supply must, at the same time, be resilient to political, economic and extreme weather events. There is also a desire amongst most nations to reduce carbon emissions and local pollution. The emphasis on ‘green and clean’ energy is currently strong. At COP21, the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, nearly 200 countries established a legally binding agreement to limit emissions with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C. This can be expected to drive substantial changes to future energy systems.
To meet carbon emissions target whilst retaining the gas grid, a step change solution to partial or full conversion of a gas system to hydrogen is a solution.
Hydrogen, coupled with carbon capture and storage (CCS) offers a resolution that could play a major role in meeting decarbonization targets.
The use of hydrogen in a gas grid eliminates or significantly reduces carbon dioxide emissions from gas users connected to that grid if any carbon dioxide arising from hydrogen production is captured and sequestered.
A gas grid built or re-purposed to supply hydrogen has several advantages over electricity as an energy vector:
- Large energy volumes can be stored using proven methods at relatively low cost
- Hydrogen transport via pipelines is low cost compared to electricity and the volume of a large-scale hydrogen transport system provides inherent storage
- Much of the existing gas distribution infrastructure can be re-purposed for hydrogen or to support the distribution of hydrogen including over 230,000 km of low pressure local distribution networks.