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Northern Gas Networks (NGN), the gas distributor for the north of England, has successfully secured funding to carry out vital research into the offshore production of hydrogen.

The Hydrogen Cost Reduction HyCoRe programme, backed by OFGEM’s Strategic Innovation Fund, will spend 12 weeks developing a detailed understanding of the integration between offshore wind and electrolysis, with a particular focus on identifying the optimal placement of infrastructure such as electrolysers and energy storage to maximise the cost and resilience of the energy system.

The goal is ultimately to develop a specialist tool that will be able to quantify the costs and trade-offs, while simulating different configurations of electricity, gas, and hydrogen infrastructure.

Keith Owen, Head of Systems Development and Energy Strategy at NGN said: “Successful integration of hydrogen by leveraging existing energy networks will reduce the capital expenditure required to support the net-zero transition by 2050, this will ultimately benefit the consumer.”

“However, achieving this integration will require the adoption of novel technologies and new planning approaches, so we’re extremely pleased to have secured the initial funding for this important work.”

NGN will be joined in the programme by a number of other industry partners, including the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, Kinewell Energy, Lhyfe UK, NationalGrid Gas (NGG), Southern Gas Networks (SGN), Ove Arup and Unasys.

The team will be further supported by UK Power Networks, who will act as external advisors to the project. The consortium has modelling and practical expertise in electrical and gas network operation, offshore wind, wind farm design, and the new field of offshore electrolysis.