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In 2019, the UK committed to reaching Net Zero emissions by 2050, having previously pledged to decarbonise 80% of 1990 levels via the 2008 Climate Change Act. Heat contributes toward a third of our annual CO2 emissions. How we decarbonise this key contributor when 83% of domestic homes currently use natural gas for heating and cooking remains unclear. Through a series of projects, the H21 programme is delivering evidence in support of a transition to a 100% hydrogen future.
Hydrogen, zero carbon at the point of use, has the potential to unlock the decarbonisation issue.
With all the advantages of natural gas, but no carbon dioxide when combusted, using hydrogen for heat and transport would significantly reduce emissions.
H21 is a suite of pioneering gas industry projects led by Northern Gas Networks, focused on demonstrating the existing UK gas grid can be repurposed to carry 100% hydrogen, in order to meet the 2050 objectives.
Global interest, in hydrogen's potential to significantly reduce carbon emissions, create jobs and unlock technological innovation, continues to grow.
If the 19th century was dominated by town gas, and the 20th century by natural gas, could the 21st century be dominated by hydrogen?
As the UK looks towards 2050, and a cleaner and greener energy future, H21 is a collaborative gas industry programme focused on demonstrating how converting the UK gas network to carry 100% hydrogen can tackle the UK’s decarbonisation challenges.
Led by Northern Gas Networks, the gas distributer for the North of England, H21 has already proved conversion of the existing gas grid to carry 100% hydrogen is technically possible and economically viable, through the 2016 H21 Leeds City Gate report.
H21 is now focused on delivering two key pieces of work, enabling a first policy decision on hydrogen to be made.
• H21 NIC: Presenting the quantified safety evidence that proves a future hydrogen gas networks can be managed to the same high safety standard as our natural gas network of today.
• H21 North of England: A strategic report undertaken by Northern Gas Networks in partnership with Equinor and Cadent, establishing a clear pathway for decarbonising heat, setting out the design requirements of the infrastructure needed to convert the North of England to hydrogen.
The H21 programme, launched in 2016, began the discussion around hydrogen for heat. Since then, several gas industry projects have evolved to demonstrate the benefits of such an energy transition, most significantly Hy4Heat, the £25 million UK government programme exploring hydrogen’s use ‘downstream of the meter’ in appliances and buildings.Find out more
The H21 project gives the UK a unique opportunity to lead the world in large scale decarbonisation strategies.