Is hydrogen the future for Liverpool-Manchester gas users?

future of energy in your area

Cadent publishes a research paper on a proposal to introduce hydrogen into the gas network around Liverpool and Manchester
  • UK’s biggest gas network says, if the plan goes ahead, it could transform energy in the UK and help decarbonise heat
  • The project would require no changes to heating or other appliances, but needs support from a range of stakeholders
  • Cadent today unveils an ambitious proposal to introduce hydrogen into the gas network in North West England, which could be a huge stride forward in Britain’s battle to decarbonise heat*.
    The conceptual study explains how hydrogen could be used in place of natural gas (methane) to power industry in the region. Excess hydrogen could then be blended with natural gas to heat homes and businesses across the Liverpool and Manchester areas, without the need to change appliances such as boilers.
    The region is home to 11 per cent of Britain’s existing industrial gas users, as well as four million domestic consumers of gas (for heating and cooking). It also has nearby offshore gas fields in Liverpool Bay that are nearing the end of their operational lives, and which Cadent says could be the perfect location to store the carbon dioxide (CO2) created during the production of hydrogen.
    David Parkin, director of safety and network strategy at Cadent, said: “While this is a study on paper, it’s a very real project. It has potential to transform the future of energy in the UK and be a long-term solution to decarbonising heat. We’ve published our conceptual study in full today and now begin a process to engage with and take on the views of key stakeholders and potential partners. We’ll then be able to assess whether there is the appetite out there to take this ambitious concept forward.”
    The paper outlines how Cadent’s estimated timetable envisages that a final investment decision for the project could be before the end of the next Parliament (in 2022). It also explains that the project would support the objectives of the Government’s forthcoming ‘Clean Growth Plan’ and Industrial Strategy White Paper.
    The potential cost of the project (estimated in the study to be around £600M) would be lower, and hold less development risk, if funded as an allowable expenditure within regulator Ofgem’s RIIO price control mechanism, along with Government input to underwrite certain carbon capture storage risks and costs.
    The study published today explains how existing pipelines would be used for CO2 transport, and a new hydrogen pipeline created, largely following the Manchester Ship Canal. There would also be a new hydrogen production and carbon capture plant. The exact quantities of hydrogen to be introduced into the gas network will be determined according to the results from a ground-breaking, ongoing innovation project in which Cadent is involved at Keele’s university campus.
    * Emissions from natural gas combustion and use are the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK (report, p1)


Cadent is the UK’s largest gas distribution network with a 200-year legacy.  We are in a unique position to build on strong foundations whilst encouraging the curiosity to think differently and the courage to embrace change.  Day to day we continue to operate, maintain and innovate the UK’s largest gas network, transporting gas safely and protecting people in an emergency.   Our skilled engineers and specialists remain committed to the communities we serve, working day and night to ensure gas reaches 11 million homes from Cumbria to North London and the Welsh Borders to East Anglia, to keep your energy flowing. 

Future of Gas: Here at Cadent we support the Government’s plans to reach Net Zero by 2050. That means we’re backing the introduction of hydrogen as a low carbon alternative to natural gas for the future. We know people love the controllability of gas and, with our network already in place, it makes sense to switch to the lower carbon alternative offered by hydrogen, which we believe can keep homes and businesses warm for generations to come.

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