27 February 2024

We look at two hydrogen blending projects - HyDeploy2 and HyCoRe - which are making hydrogen happen.

A hydrogen economy presents a huge opportunity for the UK

In fact, it’s predicted it could unlock over 12,000 jobs and up to £11 billion of investment by 2030.

And, critically, it could play a massive role in decarbonising gas for Great Britain.

Based on current evidence, the government announced at the end of 2023 that it sees potential strategic and economic value in supporting hydrogen blending of up to 20% into Great Britain’s gas distribution networks. It was a milestone moment for the conversation around hydrogen and its potential - but what’s next?

Behind the scenes, a number of projects are undertaking vital work to build up the case of what’s needed from a safety perspective when blending hydrogen with natural gas, as well as the cost reduction potential of including hydrogen as a key element in the transition towards a greener future.

Let’s take a closer look at two key projects - HyDeploy2 and HyCoRe - that are helping make hydrogen happen.


HyDeploy2 - building safety evidence for hydrogen blending

HyDeploy2 tackles a vital question for energy customers: how can we reduce the carbon being emitted from heating our homes? Funded by the Network Innovation Competition, an annual funding opportunity for flagship projects that deliver financial and environmental benefits to gas customers, its purpose is to develop the safety evidence base for hydrogen blending.

For a 20% hydrogen blend to happen in the UK’s gas distribution network, industrial trials, social science research and public network demonstrations are needed to demonstrate this is a safe approach.

Speaking about hydrogen blending in a recent podcast with Xoserve, Charles Perez-Storey, Principal Engineer at Progressive Energy, which has been a key partner in the HyDeploy2 initiative, said:

Natural gas is not a fixed thing. It’s a range of gases all mixed together. The 20% hydrogen is essentially another component within that mixture - it’s just a different molecule.

The big advantage, of course, is there’s no carbon, meaning the carbon emissions of using this blend is much lower.”

With the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) sharing its decision to proceed with hydrogen blending in December 2023, the HyDeploy2 programme continues to generate evidence that encompasses Great Britain’s entire gas distribution networks. It’s currently finalising its findings for eight key reports, which will be delivered to the Health & Safety Executive and DESNZ later this year.

The ambition? To proceed with enabling hydrogen blending at scale.

The HyDeploy2 initiative has faced some challenges along the way, however. With hydrogen being increasingly recognised as a credible option, and hydrogen-related products across the supply chain beginning to gain prominence, one limiting factor has been available resources across the sector.

Hydrogen subject matter experts are fairly thin on the ground - a challenge further exacerbated by this growing demand for a hydrogen economy. As a result, some of the HyDeploy2 research has been undertaken overseas, tapping into the consortium’s international networks and contacts.

Furthermore, there’s been a large draw on the Health & Safety Executive’s time and resources. This has led to the organisation changing how they organise themselves to receive evidence for review. As such, throughout the duration of the HyDeploy2 project, the team have needed to adapt how evidence is reported, submitted and reviewed.

However, reporting on the key strategic benefits for hydrogen blending, Cadent explained:

“In the absence of early large-scale hydrogen transport and storage infrastructure, blending acts as a strategic enabler.”

Read more about the HyDeploy2 project in this progress report from Cadent

You can also listen to our exclusive podcast with Progressive Energy's Charles Perez-Storey, where he weighs in on the HyDeploy2 project. 


HyCoRe - exploring cost reduction potential for blending hydrogen with natural gas

Northern Gas Networks and its partners have announced a new Hydrogen Cost Reduction Programme (HyCoRe), after successfully securing funding worth almost £500,000 from Ofgem, as part of its £16m Strategic Innovation Fund. The programme will explore the role of hydrogen in lowering the upfront capital investment needed in the clean energy transition.

HyCoRe sees Northern Gas Networks joined by a range of influential industry partners, including Offshore Renewable Energy, Catapult, Kinewell Energy, Arup, Newcastle University, Unasys, and National Gas Transmission.

Over the next six months, the HyCoRe project will focus on three key research areas:

  1. National modelling
    Identifying high-potential areas, based on offshore/onshore constraints and opportunities.

  2. Modelling of a regional-specific area
    Understanding infrastructure solutions that will provide connectivity between offshore wind production areas, energy consumers and the gas network.

  3. Technical challenge assessment
    Identifying technical challenges that may impede deployment, and the design and optimisation of test and validation solutions that will help de-risk technology pathways.

Commenting on HyCoRe, David Lynch, Future Energy Strategy Manager at Northern Gas Networks, said:

“We are delighted to receive funding, which builds on great work by our HyCoRe consortium during the initial discovery phase.

HyCoRe will provide evidence to demonstrate how hydrogen can be integrated into existing energy networks to reduce capital expenditure required to support the net-zero transition by 2050.”

The plan is that once UK regions with strong potential for green hydrogen have been identified, hydrogen will then be produced from offshore-wind and injected into the onshore gas network. This will provide a more economic and deliverable solution than offshore wind farms producing electricity directly.

Visit the Northern Gas Networks website to find out more about the HyCoRe project. 

Find out more


Projects such as HyDeploy2 and HyCoRe are playing a vital role in moving Great Britain closer towards a hydrogen economy. Given hydrogen’s frequently-cited benefits, the goal is to now build enough evidence to understand how this can best be undertaken at scale.

It’s an exciting time to be part of these conversations, and Xoserve eagerly awaits the outcomes and findings of these two important projects.


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