In 2016, Northern Gas Networks, the gas distributer for the North of England, produced the H21 Leeds City Gate feasibility study. Based on a blueprint of the city of Leeds, the study concluded it was technically possible and economically viable to decarbonise the UK’s gas distribution networks by converting them from natural gas to 100% hydrogen. Leeds City Gate also demonstrated that this could be achieved at an acceptable cost to the customer. Before this vision can be fully realised, the critical safety-based evidence for such a conversion, upstream and downstream of the meter, must be provided. After securing £9 million OFGEM funding, with a further £1 million contributed by the UK networks, H21 NIC is working to present the quantified safety evidence between natural gas and 100% hydrogen used within the existing GB as distribution networks.
Design parameters for a city the size of Leeds were i.e. Hydrogen would be provided through a production capacity of 1,025 MW via 4 off 256 MW steam methane reformers (SMRs) located at Teesside due to its access to carbon capture and storage (CCS). Total annual demand in a peak year would be 6.4 TWh, with 1.5m tonnes of CO2 sequestered each year. Total cost would be estimated around £2bn.