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HSE provides independent safety review of pioneering hydrogen project

9th December 2020

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will conduct an independent review into the safety management of a pioneering project, announced last week, that aims to understand how existing gas transmission assets could be used to transport hydrogen in the future.

DNV GL Spadeadam site with HyStreet Houses and space for FutureGrid and H21 Test Facility.png

The HyNTS FutureGrid experimental site - photo courtesy of DNV GL, Spadeadam

The HyNTS FutureGrid Programme seeks to build a hydrogen test facility from decommissioned assets to demonstrate that the National Transmission System (NTS), Britain's gas transmission network, can transport hydrogen to heat homes and deliver green energy to industry.

HSE, through its Safe Net Zero Research & Consultancy services, will support the project by independently reviewing the safety aspects of the programme.

HSE will review and comment on the key milestone activities being carried out by the project partners in relation to the test facility design, the master test plan, and the Quantitative Risk Assessment (QRA).

HSE's independence will ensure that the project will also address any key gaps in understanding that were generated from an initial project that explored the feasibility of a hydrogen ready NTS.

Stuart Hawksworth, who leads HSE's Centre for Energy explains: 'With the Government recently announcing its ten-point plan, the race to achieve net zero is gathering pace. Projects, such as the HyNTS FutureGrid Programme, all help the UK take a huge step forward towards introducing hydrogen as an important energy vector to help achieve our net zero targets.  However, for this technology to be deployed successfully, safety remains a critical factor. HSE's unique combination of regulatory insight, scientific expertise and experience, gathered from our involvement in important hydrogen innovation projects, both in the UK and globally, will help the HyNTS FutureGrid Programme to operate safely'.

The test facility will replicate a representative natural gas transmission network and test blends of up to 100% hydrogen at transmission pressures to assess how the assets perform.

It will remain separate from the main NTS, allowing for testing to be undertaken in a controlled environment, with no risk to the safety and reliability of the existing gas transmission network.

Ofgem's Network Innovation Competition will provide £9.07m of funding with the remaining amount coming from the project partners. The aim is to start construction in 2021 with testing beginning in 2022.

Further details about the HyNTS FutureGrid Programme can be found on the project website.

 

 

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