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15 December 2021

Cadent and Equinor Announce Plans to Develop a Hydrogen Town Concept in Lincolnshire

The Humber could be the location for one of the world’s first low carbon Hydrogen Towns within the decade, after Cadent and Equinor joined forces to realise this ambition.

Cadent and Equinor will work together to assess what a hydrogen town conversion could look like in Lincolnshire. Converting the gas networks of a town from natural gas to 100% low carbon hydrogen would drastically reduce the carbon emissions linked to home heating and could bring down overall emissions in the town by around a quarter.

Gas distribution network operator Cadent and energy company Equinor have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to develop the technical assessments and concepts for hydrogen production, storage, demand and distribution for heat, in line with Government targets to decarbonise domestic heating.

The Government’s recently published Ten Point Plan and Hydrogen Strategy set out the potential for the low carbon gas to decarbonise gas networks, noting that “heating comprises 74 per cent of buildings emissions in the UK and about 23 per cent of all UK emissions”. It also sets out pioneering trials of hydrogen heating “beginning with a hydrogen neighbourhood trial by 2023, followed by a large hydrogen village trial by 2025, and potentially a hydrogen town pilot before the end of the decade”. The Government is planning an initial ‘neighbourhood trial’ of approximately 300 homes in Levenmouth, Fife, due to start in 2023.

Often labelled the UK’s ‘Energy Estuary’, the Humber is the ideal location for such pilots due to the number of proposed low carbon hydrogen production projects, including Equinor’s H2H Saltend, the kick-starter for the wider Zero Carbon Humber scheme. As the gas network operator for Northern Lincolnshire, Cadent would assess which parts of its distribution infrastructure could be used to carry hydrogen instead of natural gas and develop any new infrastructure required.

Whilst aiming to initially explore both blending and 100% hydrogen options in targeted pilots in the Humber region, the future ambition is to enable the decarbonisation of the gas grid across the North of England and East Midlands, including to major conurbations in South Yorkshire.

Dan Sadler, Vice President of UK Low Carbon Solutions at Equinor said:

“This is a fantastic opportunity for the Humber to target yet another ‘world first’ in the low carbon energy agenda, making it a beacon for global investment, innovation and economic growth. Hydrogen offers one of the few options to reduce domestic heating emissions and we see great value in these UK trials happening here. We can continue to build on the multiple exciting hydrogen proposals in the Humber, including the flagship Equinor project at Saltend, to make this region a real focus of expertise in this growing sector.”

Sally Brewis, Head of Regional Development at Cadent said:

“Northern Lincolnshire is primed to play a major role in the UK hydrogen for heat revolution. With a Hydrogen Transmission Pipeline already at detailed design stage, potential for large-scale hydrogen production and storage nearby and a gas distribution network that is ready to be re-purposed, it’s clearly an ideal location for a Hydrogen Town pilot. We look forward to developing our plans with Equinor.”

About Equinor

Equinor is the country’s leading energy provider, supplying natural gas, oil and electricity, and aims to reach net zero emissions globally by 2050. It is a leader in carbon capture & storage and hydrogen, developing the H2H Saltend low-carbon hydrogen production plant that is at the heart of the Zero Carbon Humber partnership. It has also recently announced collaboration agreements with SSE Thermal on the world’s first at-scale 100% hydrogen power plant and CCUS power plant at Keadby, as well as a hydrogen storage facility at Aldbrough.

As part of the Northern Endurance Partnership, it is developing CO2 transport and storage infrastructure for the East Coast Cluster, comprising the Humber and Teesside. Equinor’s UK activities also include operating offshore oil and gas fields and offshore wind farms, and its expansion plans include Dogger Bank, the world’s largest offshore wind farm. Find out more at www.equinor.co.uk.

About Cadent

Cadent is the UK’s largest gas distribution network with a 200-year legacy.  We are in a unique position to build on strong foundations whilst encouraging the curiosity to think differently and the courage to embrace change.  Day to day we continue to operate, maintain and innovate the UK’s largest gas network, transporting gas safely and protecting people in an emergency.   Our skilled engineers and specialists remain committed to the communities we serve, working day and night to ensure gas reaches 11 million homes from Cumbria to North London and the Welsh Borders to East Anglia, to keep your energy flowing.

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