Jun 2020
Gas Distribution and Gas Transmission
I-0321 Transport Pathways
Jun 2020
Feb 2021
Cadent, National Grid Gas Transmission, Northern Gas Networks, SGN and Wales and West Utilities
David Jones (Project Manager) - Cadent Neil Stovold – Wales and West Utilities Donal Kissane – Gas Networks Ireland Colin Thompson – SGN David Gill – Northern Gas Networks David Hardman – National Grid Celine Cluzel – Element Energy
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Network Innovation Allowance
GD - Future of gas
Gas Distribution Networks and Gas Transmission Networks
In 2019 the UK government announced a new emissions target of Net-Zero emissions by 2050 updated from the previous 80% of 1990 emissions that was previously written into the Climate Change Act in 2008. This change has drastically changed the way that UK industry is looking at the decarbonisation challenge with many sectors that were previously considered too hard to decarbonise now having to evaluate their own decarbonisation pathways. One such sector is the heavy transport sector.
Surface transport emissions contribute 27% of all GHG emissions and 23% of these are contributed by the heavy transport sector. Many companies are now investing in new emission reduction technologies with one of the key players being the utilisation of CNG. Large fleet operations have now began investing in CNG vehicles due to both the financial and environmental benefits (84% reduction compared to diesel when using biomethane meeting Climate Change Act 2008 Commitments) with many more fleets now looking to implement CNG having seen the success of current fleets.
The use of CNG is understood to be a strong enabler for transition to future “Net-Zero” gaseous fuels including hydrogen. However, the transition from the current operation as part of a gaseous heavy transport future is not well understood. This project aims to examine the transition from CNG today towards a hydrogen future providing insight into the technical challenges and potential short-term policy asks that will enable a no regrets approach to decarbonisation of the industry.
Within previous work there has been a focus on a high level whole system approach to decarbonisation however as industries and sectors move towards enacting their climate commitments a more detailed study into individual sectors will be required. Doing so will create a more detailed understanding of how businesses will achieve net zero and will ensure consumers do not see a drop in the standard of service and will not be put at risk due to uncertainty.
More specifically within the transport sector there is yet to be a consideration for the transition from CNG vehicles that met the UK’s targets under the original climate change act to hydrogen vehicles applicable within a net zero transition scenario. With substantial investment in CNG vehicles today, it is imperative that the associated costs and technical challenges of a future conversion to hydrogen are fully understood, and the potential for these CNG assets becoming stranded in the future avoided.
The uptake of gas in heavy duty vehicles is strongly dependent on policy, economics and environmental performance. With many companies now looking towards bio-CNG fleets to achieve short-to-medium term environmental targets there is now an increased focus on how fleets can transition from this short-term reduction using renewable gas towards long term net-zero emissions targets using hydrogen.
The key objectives for this project are shown below:
Customer objectives: Improved understanding on the impact of implementation of CNG today on the role out of Hydrogen in the future including financial benefits of adopting CNG currently as part of a GB transition step.

Network objectives: Increased interest in the role of CNG as part of a transition will support further discussion of a hydrogen future and potentially increase the number of fleets converting to CNG now on the understanding that it will provide learning to enable a future transition. The project also aims to understand the impacts of increased gas/hydrogen role out in transport on the operation of the network (e.g. gas consumption/consumption profile)

Environmental objectives: an understanding of the role hydrogen can play in the net-zero transition and how short-to-medium term decisions can impact role out of hydrogen in the future

Innovation objectives: a technical review of current CNG infrastructure and the ability/cost of adapting this infrastructure to deliver hydrogen.

This project also aims to support current gas strategy and further support the role out of CNG as part of a future gas transition whilst supporting the continuation of funding methods that assist in the uptake of BioCNG e.g. RTFO.
This project is at a low technical readiness level and hence the cost/financial impact cannot be quantified