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Low Thornley site hosts pioneering demonstration of unique carbon neutral pre-heating solution using AI & hydrogen storage technology

Northern Gas Network (NGN), the gas distributor for the north of England, has been chosen to play host to a ground-breaking trial aimed at finding new, less carbon intensive, ways of pre-heating gas for transportation around the country.

Pre-heating is an essential part of distributing gas. Before it can be transported to homes and businesses through the network, the pressure of the gas must be reduced. This process can cause it to freeze, so pre-heating takes place to allow the gas to flow.

Traditional pre-heating units are highly energy-intensive, so over the last decade, the gas industry has been exploring a range of low carbon technologies capable of carrying out the process.

Now, in a world-first initiative, H2GO Power (“H2GO”), in collaboration with Baxi, has been chosen to lead an industrial scale demonstration of its unique carbon neutral heating solution – known as ‘heat-in-a-box’ – at NGN’s Low Thornley test facility near Gateshead.

Heat-in-a-box is a containerised first-of-a-kind solution, combining electrolysis, H2GO’s proprietary low-pressure hydrogen storage and Baxi’s hydrogen boiler, the first-ever pure hydrogen boiler for commercial applications.

The end-to-end system will be powered by solar PV and supported by an AI-enabled optimisation software platform developed by H2GO Power (HyAI), the world’s first optimisation end-to-end Software as a service platform specifically designed for hydrogen systems.

HyAI will be installed on NGN’s existing infrastructure to integrate them as part of the solution and optimise the overall system operation. The solution introduces the concept of a Smart Hydrogen-Gas Network (SHyGaN).

The SHyGaN initiative is among projects funded through the UK Government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s £26 million Industrial Hydrogen Accelerator Programme, which delivers funding for innovation projects that can provide evidence on end-to-end industrial fuel switching to hydrogen.

The system has been designed for maximised energy efficiency and minimal system maintenance ensuring a secure carbon-free and safe operation.

Mark Horsley, CEO of Northern Gas Networks said: “Innovation projects are critical to understanding the route for the UK to reach net zero, the role hydrogen can play in helping to decarbonise all sectors and the opportunities it offers within a whole-systems approach. We’re delighted to be hosting such an exciting whole-systems demonstration.”

Dr Enass Abo-Hamed, H2GO Power CEO, said: “Heat-in-the-box is revolutionary as it can decarbonise heating processes from multiple industries including cement, glass, ceramics, chemical, food & drinks, paper & pulp and more. Furthermore, the demand for heat is three times higher than the demand for power and is responsible for 40% of all global emissions. Decarbonisation of heat systems have been proven difficult and costly to achieve so far, but this latest initiative is set to change this. Our technology is at the forefront of delivering a life changing, effective and scalable solution to meet the world’s energy demands. Heat-in-a-box is highly beneficial for industrial facilities with preheating or other heating processes as we have estimated a payback period from reduced energy costs within 10 years, while contributing to decarbonisation targets.”