“Build it and they will come”

16th Mar 2020

 

Bet you thought I’d lifted this from the US baseball film, “Field of Dreams” but you’d be wrong. It’s what Noah was told about building a big ship that would save the planet’s inhabitants. I’m going to stretch your imagination now by suggesting that infrastructure projects like HyNet (based in the NW of England) could well be the gas industry’s equivalent. Let me tell you why.

There’s little disagreement in the energy and climate change world that it would be crazy to simply decarbonise the UK by outsourcing our emissions and closing down energy intensive industrial users. It’s also accepted that industrial processes often need high grade heat that can only be provided by gas. So to prevent the UK becoming an industrial wasteland, decarbonising the gas that industry uses is a must. So converting these plants to burning hydrogen is an important first step. The industrial clusters being planned around the UK are recognition of this.

Now it would be sensible to use the existing gas infrastructure to provide the energy source, but those pipes are also connected to neighbouring shops, offices and yes, domestic properties. They too will want to join in. So hydrogen production serves an important industrial purpose; its conversion from methane with carbon captured and stored in depleted gas fields in Morecombe Bay being a neat solution. Hydrogen storage in Cheshire, where methane is currently stored in salt caverns, simply uses the existing local geology.

Piped into the gas network, initially at a 20 per cent mix, it will allow some carbon reduction for offices, shops, and homes while capacity levels increase and consumers buy into the change, as per HyDeploy. 

 Best wishes

Mike Foster, CEO