The Anonymous Widower

National Grid Goes Carbon-Free With Hydrogen-Powered Substation Trial

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from National Grid.

These are the main bullet points.

  • Hydrogen powered unit (HPU) quietly provided carbon-free electricity to National Grid’s Deeside Centre for Innovation
  • Only emission is water
  • HPUs could save an estimated 500,000 kg of carbon across all National Grid substation sites

I am an Electrical Engineer and I had never realised that all those electricity substations around the country need a backup electricity generator.

These four paragraphs describe the trial and the generator used.

A GeoPura 250kW hydrogen power unit (HPU) contained within a transportable shipping container measuring 7.2 m by 2.5 m was installed at DCI and produced the energy to power low-voltage equipment needed for National Grid’s innovation testing projects and site operations. The trial tested the capabilities and feasibility of HPUs as direct replacements for backup diesel generators across more than 250 National Grid substation sites, the data will now be analysed and shared later this year.

National Grid currently use diesel generators alongside batteries to provide backup power to a substation for key activities such as cooling fans, pumps, and lighting, enabling it to continue to perform its crucial role in the electricity transmission system.

These backup generators are rarely used and have less than a 1% chance of operating per year, however, on the rare occasion that backup power is required, changing from diesel to low-carbon emission alternatives have the potential to reduce carbon intensity by 90%* and save over 500,000 kg of carbon emissions.

The HPU at Deeside has power capabilities of up to 100 kW in continuous operation mode and up to 250 kW for 45 minutes and uses 100% green hydrogen. The unit is quieter and the hydrogen cannisters used to fuel the generators can be safely stored on site.

I have some thoughts.

Deeside Centre For Innovation

The Deeside Centre for Innovation (DCI), a state-of-the-art testing facility hosting a 400 kV modified substation, designed as a unique environment for development and trial of innovative technologies and practices.

I think there’s something rather cunning about the DCI, as it means that anybody with a good idea will probably approach National Grid for help with the testing.

Visit Deeside Centre for Innovation for more information.

GeoPura

GeoPura has a totally zero-emissions answer to how we’re going to generate, store and distribute the vast amount of energy required to decarbonise our global economies. Or so their web site says!

This page on GeoPura’s web site, gives several case studies of how they work.

They would appear to provide zero-carbon power in widespread locations for Winterwatch, Springwatch etc. for the BBC.

January 13, 2023 - Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. All substations with circuit breakers have always had standby batteries to run the control circuits, protection relays and SCADA systems but not seen generators but ive only ever been to the old area board 132/33kv sites. The older supergrid sites 275/400kV have a lot of outdoor heavy duty switchgear, disconnectors and need for compressed air so probably battery backup would be short term until gennies kicked in.
    NG worst case situation is system black, which i don’t believe has ever happened in UK since supergrid was built, worst case was 87 storm when they lost (well had to let London & SE go to protect rest of system) so not being able to interrogate the status of the transmission system and control it would elongate the recovery time. Actually now we have so little coal the system would be easier to restart as the big coal burners need upto 100MW in auxiliary power to get them going.

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | January 13, 2023 | Reply

    • I certainly feel that National Grid are on the ball here.

      Comment by AnonW | January 14, 2023 | Reply


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