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Centrica and HiiROC trial UK hydrogen

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Meenal Datar

Membership specialist

Centrica Business Solutions, an integrated energy solutions company, will begin injecting hydrogen into its existing gas peaking plant at Briggs, Lincolnshire, UK.

The 49MW gas fired plant at Brigg is designed to meet demand during peak times, or when generation from renewables is low, typically operating for less than three hours a day. Mixing hydrogen in with natural gas reduces the overall carbon intensity.

This is part of the first trial with HiiROC, a technology company for zero-emission hydrogen generation, to gain a better understanding of the role of hydrogen in power production. HiiROC’s technology converts biomethane, flare gas or natural gas into clean hydrogen and carbon black, through an innovative thermal plasma electrolysis process.

It’s anticipated that during the trial no more than 3% of the gas mix could be hydrogen, increasing to 20% incrementally after the project. Longer term, the vision is to move towards 100% hydrogen and to deploy similar technology across all gas-fired peaking plants.

The 12-month trial is expected to begin in Q3 of 2023 and will be part-funded by a £553,000 (€635,566) grant from the Net Zero Technology Centre (NZTC), which has given 20 projects a total of £8m. Each project is aimed at developing technology which could reduce emissions offshore, accelerate clean energy production and enable the delivery of the UK’s net zero ambitions.

Greg Mckenna, managing director of Centrica says: ‘Gas still plays a huge role in maintaining a secure, stable supply of power in the UK, with around 40% of our power coming from natural gas. So, it’s vital that we find ways to reduce the carbon intensity of gas plants like that at Brigg.’

‘This is the first time hydrogen will be used within a grid connected gas fired power plant in the UK, making this trial an important step forward towards realising the role hydrogen can play in decarbonising our energy system,’ says Alexander Stafford MP, chair of the Hydrogen All Party Parliamentary Group. ‘It is an exciting milestone that will help accelerate the transition to a hydrogen economy and its role in achieving net zero.’

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