UK’s gas network rides on 1960s RAF Fighter jet engines

Britain’s extensive gas network relies on outdated aircraft engines from 1960s RAF Lightning fighter jets, presenting a significant challenge as the industry grapples with the need for costly upgrades

Big Zero Report 2023

Jon Butterworth, the Chief Executive Officer of National Gas, sheds light on a critical challenge facing the UK’s gas network.

Hidden beneath the country’s diverse landscapes, a system of gas pipelines relies on a fleet of ageing aircraft engines, originally the driving force behind 1960s RAF Lightning fighter jets.

Despite their resilient history, these 68 turbines across 21 pumping stations are steadily approaching obsolescence.

Their outdated design not only demands bespoke components but also contributes to increased emissions compared to their contemporary counterparts.

Mr Butterworth estimates the substantial cost of upgrading a single turbine at £40 million, adding financial pressure to an industry already contending with the challenges of securing funds in a landscape favouring renewable energy solutions.

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