Wales & West Utilities to inject biogas with 1% hydrogen into network

Wales & West Utilities (W&W) has received the green light to inject biogas containing up to 1% hydrogen into its gas network in Swindon.

This is the first time the Health & Safety Executive has permitted natural gas with an elevated hydrogen level to be used in the national network.

W&W is working with ABSL, which will inject bio-substitute natural gas (bio-SNG) into the existing gas network at its plant in Swindon. This will reduce carbon emissions by up to 5,000 tonnes for almost 2,500 local homes immediately.

The bio-SNG produced at the plant will have a hydrogen content of up to 1% hydrogen, which has required an exemption to standard requirements. The plant is expected to start injecting bio-SNG into the grid in October.

This latest development builds on W&W’s commitment to prepare the gas network to transport green gases like hydrogen and biomethane. Earlier this year, the company joined up with the UK’s other gas network companies, as part of the Energy Networks Association’s plan – Britain’s Hydrogen Network Plan – which set out the detail of the activity to turn the UK’s hydrogen ambitions into a reality. The plan includes blending up to 20% hydrogen into local gas grids by 2023 and converting villages to run on 100% hydrogen by 2025.

Sarah Williams, W&W Utilities’ director of regulation and asset strategy, said the company was “delighted” to receive permission from HSE to start injecting 1% hydrogen.

“This will help reduce the carbon emissions from local homes today without any impact on our customers or their appliances,” said Williams. “It’s another important step in demonstrating the use of existing safe and reliable gas network in the UK to transport hydrogen.

“The 2020s must be a decade of delivery, where we put the research and development work that has been done on hydrogen into practice. This project will help support ambitious plans across the UK to convert villages to hydrogen, help heavy industries decarbonise, and meet the government’s aspirations on hydrogen for home heating.”

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