Written Evidence Submitted by the British Standards Institution (BSI)
BSI’s role in support of innovation
BSI’s role in support of a transitioning energy sector and the focus on hydrogen
Call for evidence
1. The suitability of the Government’s announced plans for “Driving the Growth of Low Carbon Hydrogen”, including:
2. The progress of recent and ongoing trials of hydrogen in the UK and abroad, and the next steps to most effectively build on this progress;
3. The engineering and commercial challenges associated with using hydrogen as a fuel, including production, storage, distribution and metrology, and how the Government could best address these;
4. The infrastructure that hydrogen as a Net Zero fuel will require in the short- and longer-term, and any associated risks and opportunities;
5. Cost-benefit analysis of using hydrogen to meet Net Zero as well as the potential environmental impact of technologies required for its widespread use; and
6. The relative advantages and disadvantages of hydrogen compared to other low-carbon options (such as electrification or heat networks), the applications for which hydrogen should be prioritised and why, and how any uncertainty in the optimal technology should be managed.
APPENDIX - The progress of recent and ongoing trials of hydrogen in the UK and abroad
Admixtures of hydrogen by volume in Natural gas
There are many projects being undertaken at home and abroad regarding the introduction of hydrogen (H2) into the existing and purpose designed H2 networks. There are two distinct paths being followed:
a) an admixture of H2 of currently up to 20% H2 into a natural gas network,
b) the introduction of 100% H2 networks. Although many are using the term 100% for H2, the purity does depend on its application with that used for heating purposes the amount of hydrogen is typically around 98% H2 with the other 2% containing other gases. If the H2 is being used in fuel cells, say for mobility then the gas quality needs to be to a higher specification. For H2 Gas Quality reference is generally made to the international Standard ISO 14687- Hydrogen fuel quality — Product specification.
In Great Britain several projects are being undertaken under the umbrella of HyDeploy. The HyDeploy is a project that is being run by gas distributors Cadent and Northern Gas Networks along with other partners including the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). There is a field trial currently underway at Keele University where an admixture of up to 20% H2 by volume in natural gas is being distributed within a dedicated network supplying a both domestic and commercial appliances. A further trial is currently being planned to distribute an admixture of up to 20% H2 by volume in natural gas to 670 homes in a village named Winlnton near Gateshead. This will be the first time an admixture of up to 20% H2 has been distributed into a public network in Great Britain. One of the main outcomes from the trial at Keele University is that it would appear that appliances would not require any modification or conversion to operate safely with this admixture.
Another distribution company, ENGIE has set up a trial which is being undertaken near Dunkirk in France, named Hythane, again distributing admixtures up to 20% H2 by volume in natural gas. This project is supplying fuel for a Natural Gas Vehicles (NGV) refuelling station for buses as well as space heating, water heating for residential property. The French government is also supporting the GRHYD hydrogen energy storage demonstrator project now being conducted by ENGIE and a consortium of twelve industrial partners.
One of the main issues with injecting H2 into a gas network is at some point there will be an upper limit to the amount of H2 that can be injected without the need to undertake a full appliance conversion. Currently the accepted figure is an admixture up to 20% H2 by volume of in natural gas.
There are several projects being undertaken in Europe. These include the THyGA project (Testing Hydrogen Admixtures for Gas Appliances) sets out to develop and communicate a detailed understanding of the impact of blends of natural gas and hydrogen on end use applications, specifically in the domestic and commercial sector. The main goal of the project is to enable the wide adoption of H2NG (hydrogen in natural gas) blends by closing knowledge gaps regarding technical impacts on residential and commercial gas appliances. The project consortium will identify and recommend appropriate codes and standards that should be adapted to answer the needs and develop a strategy for addressing the challenges for new and existing appliances.
Allowing an admixture of up to 20% by volume within the domestic market would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 6 million tonnes per year, which is the equivalent of removing 2.5 million cars from the road.
Distributing gas in a totally hydrogen network
There was also a considerable amount of work being done under the Leeds h21 project with the ambitious target of converting the city of Leeds to distribute a hydrogen network starting in the early 2030s. The knowledge gained from the Leeds h21 project has now used and morphed into the h21 North of England Project. This project now covers the wider area of the North of England including such major cities as Bradford, Hull, Manchester, Liverpool, etc. See link to film below for further information.
Its partners in this project now include Northern Gas Networks, Cadent and Equinor (whose previous company name was Statoil). In order to produce sufficient hydrogen this will be produced utilising Steam Methane Reforming (SMR) in conjunction with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) where the now redundant oil fields in the North Sea will be used to store this by-product. Electrolysis was not seen as a suitable method of currently producing sufficient hydrogen to meet the expected energy requirements. In order to support the successful rollout of a 100% hydrogen a project has now been started by BIES. This project is named Hy4heat which has 10 work packages covering the associated research required for the safe distribution and use of hydrogen as a low carbon fuel as an alternative to natural gas.
On the east coast of Scotland, The SGN H100 Fife project is laying the foundations to supply a hydrogen network to residents in the local area. This opportunity is to be at the leading edge of the low-carbon economy.
SGN is developing a world-first hydrogen network in Levenmouth that will bring 100% renewable hydrogen into homes in 2022, providing zero-carbon fuel for heating and cooking. In the project’s first phase, the network will heat around 300 local homes using clean gas produced by a dedicated electrolysis plant, powered by a nearby offshore wind turbine.
The project is the first of its kind to employ a direct supply of clean power to produce hydrogen for domestic heating – putting Levenmouth at the forefront of the clean energy revolution.
The system will be designed and built to ensure the same high safety and reliability standards expected from the current gas system. An on-site storage unit will hold enough hydrogen to ensure supply won’t be disrupted during even the coldest weather conditions.
The Netherlands and Germany are also investigating the use of hydrogen as a fuel to heat homes commerce and industry.
In the Netherlands BDR Thermea is undertaking a pilot project in the town of Uithoorn. This pilot project has gone live in the town of Uithoorn, the Netherlands, where 14 vacant houses have been adapted to test domestic heating systems running on zero-emission hydrogen fuel.
The North of the Netherlands’ is to be the first region to receive a subsidy for their so-called Hydrogen Valley. The North Netherlands’ subsidy application for a Hydrogen Valley has been approved by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) of the European Commission. It concerns a subsidy of 20 million euros with a public-private co-financing of 70 million euros. This brings the total project size to around 90 million euros. This subsidy is intended for the development of a fully functioning green hydrogen chain in the Northern Netherlands. The six-year project – called HEAVENN – was planned to start in January 2020 at the latest.
There are many other projects under the FCH JU Project umbrella. For further information see the link below:
Germany has developed a 6 point plan;
1) The German Government expects that around 90 to 110 TWh of hydrogen will be needed by 2030.
2) A domestic market for the production and use of hydrogen has to be established.
3) The industrial sector is well-placed to become one of main factors speeding up the market rollout of hydrogen and a global pioneer for hydrogen technology.
4) Transport applications offer great potential for hydrogen-based or power-to-gas based mobility.
5) Even after the efficiency and electrification potentials for process heat generation and the building sector have been harnessed, there will continue to be long-term demand for gaseous fuels.
6) The German Government is due to appoint a National Hydrogen Council.
North West Hydrogen Alliance
The HyNet project is led by Progressive Energy and involves hydrogen production on an industrial scale, using Carbon Capture Utility and Storage (CCUS) to make the gas low carbon and cost effective; the captured carbon would be stored in offshore caverns left empty after oil and gas extraction in the Irish Sea. The locally produced hydrogen would be transported through a newly installed hydrogen pipeline to energy-hungry industries such as glass production and refineries and this would in turn make hydrogen available to provide decarbonised heating for 2 million homes and hydrogen fuel cells for HGVs and other heavy freight transport. The HyNet project received £7.5 million of funding through Phase 2 of the Hydrogen Supply Competition in 2020.
HyNet has also received £5.2m from the UK government to fund live trials of hydrogen fuelling at Dunphy’s manufacturing site in Rochdale, Unilever’s Port Sunlight manufacturing site, and at Pilkington’s Greengate Works glass-making plant in St Helens which will be a world first. The projects will demonstrate that hydrogen can be used as a substitute fuel for natural gas in manufacturing processes, helping industry transition to a low-carbon future and leading the way for others to follow.
Wales and West Utilities – The Freedom Project
The Freedom Project to explore and demonstrate the value of smart hybrid heating. Wales and West Utilities worked with partners Western Power Distribution and PassivSystems on the first gas and electricity network future of energy project, which brought energy network integration into customers’ homes.
A Freedom installation – of which there were 75 on trial in the Bridgend ‘living heat laboratory’ –integrates a small air source heat pump alongside an existing boiler central heating system with smart controls. These smart controls are essential and enable switching between gas and electricity based on the affordability and carbon intensity of each vector. The hybrid installation is retrofitted to the existing system with minimal disruption. In the future it is expected that the fuel supplied to these boilers will be hydrogen.
SGN Real Time Networks
This is an Ofgem Funded Project under the Network Innovation Scheme. This project will consider the rise of data and digitalisation and how it can be used to helped many sectors become more efficient and resilient - and as we move toward a future net zero energy system, the application of these future technologies will become even more important.
Network modelling is just one area where data analysis can help drive efficiencies. It is essential to efficiently and cost-effectively distribute gas – but the gas industries current network model is based on assumptions and techniques developed in the 1980s. While that worked perfectly at that time, decarbonisation is changing where our gas comes from, the types of gas we use, and the way we use it. Homes and appliances are becoming much more energy efficient, and low-carbon technologies like renewables, hydrogen and biomethane are changing our energy system.
Looking towards net zero and a decarbonised energy system, the traditional methods of energy production are giving way to more agile, decentralised solutions that require a smarter, more flexible grid. By modelling demand in real time, we can better react to meet new and future customer demand. SGN is collecting and analysing live gas data every six minutes as it is distributed through our network in the south-east and used by our customers and using this data to improve network analysis.
SGN Oban Project
A trial in Oban was undertaken by Scotia Gas Networks (SGN) to investigate the supply of gas outside the current UK specification legislated for by Gas Safety Management Regulations (GSMR). This project was funded by Ofgem under the Network Innovation Competition; it sought to provide evidence to support a cost-effective new gas supply solution for the Scottish Independent Undertakings (SIU’s) – isolated local distribution networks – following the closure of the LNG storage facility at Avonmouth. Dependant on the results from this project it was also foreseen as providing a potential roadmap for the UK adoption of a widened gas-quality (Wobbe Index) specification.
Requiring a specific exemption from GSMR to be granted by the HSE, the project involved a study of approximately 1100 properties and 2500 appliances fed by the SIU, including identifying and replacing any appliances unable to cope with varying gas quality. Spot-checks were carried out over the project duration to check appliance combustion was acceptable to industry norms, and that there were no other issues apparent.
The decision of whether to expand the Wobbe Number under the GSMR is under consideration by the HSE.
Zero Carbon Humber (ZCH)
Zero Carbon Humber (ZCH) brings together international energy producers, major regional industries, leading infrastructure and logistics operators, global engineering firms and academic institutions in a plan to decarbonise the UK’s largest industrial region. This will be enabled by shared trans-regional pipelines, for low-carbon hydrogen and captured carbon emissions, creating the world’s first net zero industrial cluster by 2040.
Delivering this is expected to protect 55,000 existing jobs in the Humber and create 49,000 new ones, while supporting skills, apprenticeships and educational opportunities in the region.
The Hydrogen in Gas grids (HIGGS) is led by partners from Spain, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium. The project aims to pave the way to decarbonisation of the gas grid and its usage, by covering the gaps of knowledge of the impact that high levels of hydrogen could have on the gas infrastructure, its components and its management.
To reach this goal, several activities, including mapping of technical, legal and regulatory barriers and enablers, testing and validation of systems and innovation, techno-economic modelling and the preparation of a set of conclusions as a pathway towards enabling the injection of hydrogen in high-pressure gas grids, are being developed in the project.
EUROMET, EMPIR Project NEWGASMET
This is a European Funded Project which is investigating the effects of Flow metering of non-conventional gases (biogas, biomethane, hydrogen, syngas and mixtures with natural gas). The overall objective of the project is to increase knowledge about the impact of renewable gases on the accuracy and durability of commercially available meters; it will then disseminate these new data and possible recommendations into the EN, ISO and OIML standards used for the design of gas meters, for their certification and for their flow calibration in laboratories and in manufacturers’ plants.
Norther Light Project
Following a historic vote in parliament, on the 20th December 2020 the Norwegian Government announced its funding decision for the Northern Lights CO2 transport and storage project. This final investment decision for the Northern Lights project enables the shipping, reception and sequestration of CO2 in geological strata in the Northern North Sea, approximately 2,600 metres below the seabed.
The funding decision demonstrates the Norwegian government's strong support for the development of a Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) value chain, which is essential if Europe is to achieve its carbon neutrality targets.
Northern Lights will be the first of its kind – an open and available infrastructure enabling transport of CO2 from industrial capture sites to a terminal in Øygarden for intermediate storage before being transported by pipeline for permanent storage in a reservoir 2600 metres under the seabed.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is important to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.
This project is the largest climate project ever in the Norwegian industry and will contribute substantially to the development of CCS as an efficient mitigation measure. Working together with the industry, the step-by-step approach has confirmed that the project is feasible. The Northern Lights project is a partnership between Equinor, Shell and Total.
The Northern Lights project includes the development and operation of CO2 transport and storage facilities which will be open to third parties. It will be the first ever cross-border, open-source CO2 transport and storage infrastructure network and offers European industrial emitters the opportunity to store their CO2 safely and permanently underground. Phase one of this project will be completed mid 2024 with a capacity to store up to 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year.
CEN/TC 237 – Gas meters
This Technical Committee (TC) is investigating the effects of different non-conventional gases on the accuracy and durability of gas meters. This committee has responsibility for the standardization of the requirements for the construction, performance and safety of gas meters, including diaphragm, rotary displacement, turbine, ultrasonic domestic gas meters, thermal-mass flow-meter based gas meters and all associated conversion devices. It is also responsible for the maintenance of this suite of European Standards.
This TC is working closely with the NEWGASMET Project team by supporting them in realising the affect these non-conventional gases will have on this range of gas meters. Mr Sibley is also Chairman of CEN/TC 237.
In Denmark there is also a project being undertaken by EUDP titled “Energy Storage – Hydrogen injected into the Gas Grid via electrolysis field test” which was completed in May 2020.
The project has demonstrated transportation of up to 15% hydrogen in natural gas in a closed-loop high-pressure system, consisting of components and infrastructure from both the transmission and distribution grids. The test has shown that there is no increased leakage of hydrogen from the system compared to natural gas and that the tested components from the gas system are capable of handling hydrogen in the tested concentrations without major modifications. The project has also produced detailed knowledge on the effects on electrolysis systems from long-term standby periods.
The Health and Safety Executive are also heavily involved with the transition of the gas industry to provide a low carbon economy. Each gas network operator has to provide a safety case to ensure its network is going to operate safely. The introduction of hydrogen into the network will have a substantial impact of gas operator’s safety case and amendments will be required and these will have to be assessed and approved by the HSE.
In preparation the HSE, Science Division in Buxton has been investigating the effects of hydrogen on the gas carrying components used within the gas infrastructure in terms of safe operation.
Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers (IGEM)**
Under the BEIS funded Hy4heat Work Package 2, part of this contact has been awarded to the Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers (IGEM) to develop standards for the installation of pipes, gas quality and associated hydrogen activities.
IGEM are also members of BSI’s GSE/30 gas installations technical committee that maintains the National Standards Body programme of standards.
** IGEM and the HSE are members of BSI committees and contributors to NSB-led standardization.
DNV GL has a unique world class test site at Spadeadam in Cumbria where they can perform large scale investigations on safety critical activities on pipe and component failure. DNV GL has also built a street of terraced houses named HyStreet to investigate such safety critical activities such as the effect of dispersion of hydrogen gas leakage or rupture of service pipe entering the property.
This work supports the fact that the gas network in Great Britain is one of the safest in the world and any changes to gas specification have to be robustly tested to ensure safety is not compromised.
Below is a link to a video demonstrating the work that is being undertaking to ensure when hydrogen is distributed it will be at least as safe as the distribution of natural gas.
Work being undertaken by other European Organisations
The following European organisations are supporting the gas industry in working towards a low carbon economy.
Marcogaz is the Technical Association of the European Natural Gas Industry and has been undertaking studies regarding the introduction of hydrogen into the gas network.
Farecogaz is the European Association of manufacturers and is dealing with the gas metering chain, gas pressure regulators with associated safety devices and relevant stations.
The European Gas Research Group works with the European energy community to develop innovative solutions that ensure our gas infrastructure remains at the heart of the energy system and integral in our transition to a sustainable energy future. All the projects GERG supports aim to deliver a competitive, secure and low-cost sustainable pathway to Europe’s energy transformation.
Draft Standardization Request on hydrogen
A Standards Request Ad-hoc Group Hydrogen (SRAGH) has been formed. This group focusses on the development and/or update of European Standards on interoperability between the power and gas grids, safe admixture of hydrogen to the natural gas grid, gas quality, electrolysers for grid balancing and on compatibility with end-use appliances.
Input was collected from CEN/TC 234 ‘Gas infrastructure’, CEN/CENELEC Sector Forum Energy Management (SFEM) WG ‘Hydrogen’, CEN/CLC/JTC 6 ‘Hydrogen in energy systems’ and the CEN Sector Forum Gas Sector regarding a future Standardization Request related to hydrogen and power to gas.
This group is supporting the European Commission by identifying what new standards may be required and which may require amendment.
GasNaturally is a partnership of eight associations that together represent the whole European gas value chain – their members are involved in gas exploration and production, transmission, distribution, wholesale and retail operations, as well as gas in transport. Their members include EUROGAS, European Gas Research Group (GERG), Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE), International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP), International Gas Union (IGU), Liquid Gas Europe, Marcogaz and The Natural & bio Gas Vehicle Association (NGVA Europe).
This partnership has produced a report which investigates a carbon neutral future of gas appliances for domestic, commercial and Industrial applications.
Infinite Blue Energy is proposing to build one of the world’s largest renewable hydrogen production facilities in Western Australia, with a $350 million plan for the Arrowsmith green hydrogen project that would include 160MW of onsite wind and solar projects and the ability to produce as much as 25 tonnes of zero emissions hydrogen each day.
While Infinite Blue Energy plans to produce more than three-quarters its power needs from the onsite renewable energy projects, the company has secured an agreement to partner with Western Power to undertake initial planning work for an additional 330kV transmission network link to the proposed green hydrogen facility.
Through the cooperative agreement, both Infinite Blue Energy and Western Power will progress early studies into an upgraded transmission link between Eneabba to the site of the proposed Arrowsmith project, to be located around 300 kilometres north of Perth.
Background on BSI
BSI is the UK’s National Standards Body, incorporated by Royal Charter and responsible independently for preparing British Standards and related publications and for coordinating the input of UK experts to European and international standards committees. BSI has over 115 years of experience in serving the interest of a wide range of stakeholders including government, business and society.
BSI represents the UK view on standards in Europe (via the European Standards Organizations CEN and CENELEC) and internationally (via ISO and IEC). BSI has a globally recognized reputation for independence, integrity and innovation ensuring standards are useful, relevant and authoritative.
BSI is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the national standards-making system not only for the benefit of UK industry and society but also to ensure that standards developed by UK experts meet international expectations of open consultation, stakeholder involvement and market relevance.
British Standards and UK implementations of CEN/CENELEC or ISO/IEC standards are all documents defining best practice, established by consensus. Each standard is kept current through a process of maintenance and review whereby it is updated, revised or withdrawn as necessary.
Standards are designed to set out clear and unambiguous provisions and objectives. Although standards are voluntary and separate from legal and regulatory systems, they can be used to support or complement legislation.
Standards are developed when there is a defined market need through consultation with stakeholders and a rigorous development process. National committee members represent their communities in order to develop standards and related documents. They include representatives from a range of bodies, including government, business, consumers, academic institutions, social interests, regulators and trade unions.
 BSI is providing input to the Hydrogen Programme Development Group (HPDG). This BEIS-led government-industry collaboration is aimed at establishing the direction and the operational parameters of a long-term, UK-wide programme in support of UK’s transition from gas to hydrogen.
 The Hydrogen Taskforce is founded by UK based companies of different sizes and specialisation – BP, Shell, ITM, BOC, Arup, Cadent, DBD, Baxi, Storengy, and BNP Paribas – that are active across the entire value chain and are at the forefront of hydrogen innovation, globally. The Taskforce’s aim is to convey a coordinated voice which is essential to securing tangible policy support and recognition from the UK Government and the Devolved Assemblies that will culminate in a collaborative and ambitious programme to enable the UK to become world leading in the hydrogen sector.