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Conversion of the UK gas system to transport hydrogen

Dodds, PE; Demoullin, S; (2013) Conversion of the UK gas system to transport hydrogen. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy , 38 (18) 7189 -7200. 10.1016/j.ijhydene.2013.03.070. Green open access

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Abstract

One option to decarbonise residential heat in the UK is to convert the existing natural gas networks to deliver hydrogen. We review the technical feasibility of this option using semi-structured interviews underpinned by a literature review and we assess the potential economic benefits using the UK MARKAL energy systems model. We conclude that hydrogen can be transported safely in the low-pressure pipes but we identify concerns over the reduced capacity of the system and the much lower linepack storage compared to natural gas. New hydrogen meters and sensors would have to be fitted to every building in a hydrogen conversion program and appliances would have to be converted unless the government was to legislate to make them hydrogen-ready in advance. Converting the gas networks to hydrogen is a lower-cost residential decarbonisation pathway for the UK than those identified previously. The cost-optimal share of hydrogen is sensitive to the conversion cost and to variations in the capital costs of heat pumps and micro-CHP fuel cells. With such small cost differentials between technologies, the decision to convert the networks will also depend on non-economic factors including the relative performance of technologies and the willingness of the government to organise a conversion program.

Type: Article
Title: Conversion of the UK gas system to transport hydrogen
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijhydene.2013.03.070
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhydene.2013.03.070
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: Natural gas conversion, UK MARKAL, Energy system model, Hydrogen networks, Gas decarbonisation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1391051
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