30% of the UK’s natural gas could be replaced by hydrogenStaff Writer | June 11, 2018
Almost a third of the natural gas fuelling UK homes and businesses could be replaced by hydrogen, a carbon free fuel, without requiring any changes to the nation’s boilers and ovens, a pioneering study by Swansea University researchers has shown.
Britain Natural gas is used for cooking, heating and generating electricity
Natural gas is used for cooking, heating and generating electricity. Domestic gas usage accounts for 9% of UK emissions. In an effort to reduce annual carbon emissions, there is presently a concerted effort from researchers worldwide to offset our usage of natural gas.
Enriching natural gas with hydrogen is one way forward. Experiments have shown that modern-day gas appliances work safely and reliably with hydrogen-enriched natural gas as the fuel. It is already used in parts of Germany and the Netherlands, with a £600m government-backed trial in the UK taking place this year.
Natural gas naturally contains a small quantity of hydrogen, although current UK legislation restricts the allowed proportion to 0.1%.
The question the Swansea team investigated was how far they could increase the percentage of hydrogen in natural gas, before it became unsuitable as a fuel, for example because the flames became unstable.
Dr Charles Dunnill of the Energy Safety Research Institute at Swansea University said: “Up to 30% of the UK’s gas supply can be replaced with hydrogen, without needing to modify people’s appliances.
As a low carbon domestic fuel, hydrogen-enriched natural gas can cut our greenhouse gas emissions, helping the UK meet its obligations under the 2016 Paris Climate Change Agreement.
Hydrogen-enrichment can make a difference now. But it could also prove a valuable stepping-stone towards a future, pure hydrogen, zero carbon gas network.” ■