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A greener gas grid: What are the options


  • Speirs, Jamie
  • Balcombe, Paul
  • Johnson, Erin
  • Martin, Jeanne
  • Brandon, Nigel
  • Hawkes, Adam


There is an ongoing debate over future decarbonisation of gas networks using biomethane, and increasingly hydrogen, in gas network infrastructure. Some emerging research presents gas network decarbonisation options as a tractable alternative to ‘all-electric’ scenarios that use electric appliances to deliver the traditional gas services such as heating and cooking. However, there is some uncertainty as to the technical feasibility, cost and carbon emissions of gas network decarbonisation options. In response to this debate the Sustainable Gas Institute at Imperial College London has conducted a rigorous systematic review of the evidence surrounding gas network decarbonisation options. The study focuses on the technologies used to generate biomethane and hydrogen, and examines the technical potentials, economic costs and emissions associated with the full supply chains involved. The following summarises the main findings of this research. The report concludes that there are a number of options that could significantly decarbonise the gas network, and doing so would provide energy system flexibility utilising existing assets. However, these options will be more expensive than the existing gas system, and the GHG intensity of these options may vary significantly. In addition, more research is required, particularly in relation to the capabilities of existing pipework to transport hydrogen safely.

Suggested Citation

  • Speirs, Jamie & Balcombe, Paul & Johnson, Erin & Martin, Jeanne & Brandon, Nigel & Hawkes, Adam, 2018. "A greener gas grid: What are the options," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 291-297.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:118:y:2018:i:c:p:291-297
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2018.03.069

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel Then & Patrick Hein & Tanja M. Kneiske & Martin Braun, 2020. "Analysis of Dependencies between Gas and Electricity Distribution Grid Planning and Building Energy Retrofit Decisions," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(13), pages 1-44, July.
    2. Singlitico, Alessandro & Goggins, Jamie & Monaghan, Rory F.D., 2019. "The role of life cycle assessment in the sustainable transition to a decarbonised gas network through green gas production," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 16-28.
    3. Daniel Then & Christian Spalthoff & Johannes Bauer & Tanja M. Kneiske & Martin Braun, 2020. "Impact of Natural Gas Distribution Network Structure and Operator Strategies on Grid Economy in Face of Decreasing Demand," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 13(3), pages 1-33, February.
    4. de Vries, Harmen & Levinsky, Howard B., 2020. "Flashback, burning velocities and hydrogen admixture: Domestic appliance approval, gas regulation and appliance development," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 259(C).
    5. Peng Fu & Danny Pudjianto & Xi Zhang & Goran Strbac, 2020. "Integration of Hydrogen into Multi-Energy Systems Optimisation," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 13(7), pages 1-19, April.
    6. Langshaw, Liam & Ainalis, Daniel & Acha, Salvador & Shah, Nilay & Stettler, Marc E.J., 2020. "Environmental and economic analysis of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for heavy goods vehicles in the UK: A Well-to-Wheel and total cost of ownership evaluation," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 137(C).
    7. Broad, Oliver & Hawker, Graeme & Dodds, Paul E., 2020. "Decarbonising the UK residential sector: The dependence of national abatement on flexible and local views of the future," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 140(C).

    More about this item


    Hydrogen; Biomethane; Gas network; Emissions; Cost;


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