A pilot project injecting zero carbon hydrogen into an existing gas network in the UK is now fully operational.

The HyDeploy demonstration is feeding up to 20% of hydrogen into Keele University’s existing natural gas network, which is connected to 100 homes and 30 faculty buildings.

Backed by Ofgem’s Network Innovation Competition, the £7 million project is led by Cadent in partnership with Northern Gas Networks, Keele University, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Science Division, ITM Power and Progressive Energy.

Keele University was viewed as the perfect location, owning and operating its own private gas network, which could be safely isolated from the wider UK gas network.

Heating homes and industry accounts for half of the UK’s energy consumption and one third of its carbon emissions, with 83% of homes using gas to keep warm.

The project developers believe a 20% hydrogen blend rolled out across the country could save around six million tonnes of carbon emissions every year – the equivalent of taking 2.5 million cars off the road.

Ed Syson, Chief Safety and Strategy Officer for Cadent said: “It is impossible to overstate the importance of this trial to the UK – this is the first ever practical demonstration of hydrogen in a modern gas network in this country.

“Hydrogen can help us tackle one of the most difficult sources of carbon emissions – heat. This trial could pave the way for a wider rollout of hydrogen blending, enabling consumers to cut carbon emissions without changing anything that they do.

“HyDeploy could also prove to be the launchpad for a wider hydrogen economy, fuelling industry and transport, bringing new jobs and making Britain a world leader in this technology. Urgent action is needed on carbon emissions and HyDeploy is an important staging post on that journey in the UK.”