Friday 10 February 2023

‘Green gas network in Northern Ireland is possible’

‘Green gas network in Northern Ireland is possible’

An entirely green gas network in Northern Ireland is a possibility.

That’s according to a team working on a project that would see gas stored in salt caverns, which has conducted a year-long study to understand the feasibility of this.

They believe the findings near Islandmagee could prove critical in the UK’s journey towards net zero.

B9 Energy, Islandmagee Energy, Mutual Energy and Aberdeen’s Net Zero Technology Centre have come together to form a consortium for the study.

Caverns would be hollowed out under the sea loch, Larne Lough – but the project has been subject to a judicial review because of this, with campaigners claiming wildlife could be harmed with saltwater being pumped out to build the caverns.

The study was backed by the former Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) with £1 million – to see if hydrogen could be stored in the network, produced by excess wind power.

Producing hydrogen through electrolysis and therefore without emissions was proven to be possible by the consortium who for that reason believe it could be a tangible means for the UK to push forward towards net zero.

Water is used to dissolve salt to form the caverns – a process the researchers believe will take around a year to complete.

Explaining the impact the project could have if approved, B9 Energy’s David Surplus said: “We've not only established the technical viability of having a 100% hydrogen transmission pipeline here – but also longer duration and higher capacity storage options to help bolster regular energy supplies across Northern Ireland.

“A fully green hydrogen economy is possible – but now we need actions to make it happen and that will depend on more collaboration between government, regulators and the transport and energy sectors.”

“The production of green hydrogen from excess wind power will balance intermittent generation with existing energy demand patterns - delivering a more secure and sustainable energy for the future,” added Islandmagee Energy’s Judith Tweed.

Written by

Bruna Pinhoni

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