Jul 2018
Gas Distribution and Gas Transmission
H21 – Field Trials Design
Jul 2018
Mar 2021
Northern Gas Networks, Cadent, SGN and Wales and West Utilities
Neil Travers
Click here to send a question to the contact.
Network Innovation Allowance
GD - Future of gas
Gas Distribution Networks
The 2017 H21 NIC project, when completed in full, will undertake an experimental testing programme which will provide the necessary data to quantify the comparative risk between a 100% hydrogen network and the natural gas network. This is required for the UK to make a policy decision on decarbonisation of heat in the early 2020s and to allow live trials to progress in 2020/21 when combined with the results of the BEIS programme.

The project was awarded two thirds of the requested funding (£10.3m) by ofgem to complete phase 1a and 1b (controlled testing) but not funding for the field trials (circa £5m in total). Although the H21 NIC project was written in 2 phases i.e. controlled testing (Phase 1A and 1B) and field trials (Phase 2) it is the field trials will provide the critical pieces of evidence. The phases were developed to help the non-gas industry audience understand the project as per the requirements of the NIC governance document. The field trials will provide the evidence required to justify the live trials or gain consensus that a 100% hydrogen gas grid conversion would be possible and ensure that significant delays to the live trial and subsequent policy decision requirement were avoidable.

This NIA project will develop the design and master testing plan for a subsequent field trial should the funding be made available. This will ensure no delays in the field trial execution and subsequent live trial and therefore no delay in a government policy on decarbonisation of heat.

Undertaking the design of the field trials alongside the H21 NIC project and other H21 NIA projects also allow economies of scale for delivery of the design phase saving on total cost.
1 – Identification of a suitable site in which to undertake field trials as defined in the H21 NIC bid document. 
2 – Development of a detailed design in which to undertake the works. If a site cannot be identified and/or legal confirmation of site access can not be agreed a generic design based on a suitable example site (as per the H21 NIC bid) should be developed from which the master testing plan can be confirmed.  
3 – Development of a master testing plan for the work 
4 – Confirmation of mains soundness testing for identified site 
5 – Development of the commercial agreement for access to site to facilitate testing
6 – Development of detailed costs for future build and test work.