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Projects: Projects for Investigator
Reference Number NIA_WPD_067
Title Hydrogen Economy: Reassessing Approaches to Connecting Large Electrolyser Sites (HERACLES)
Status Completed
Energy Categories Other Power and Storage Technologies(Electricity transmission and distribution) 50%;
Hydrogen and Fuel Cells(Hydrogen, Hydrogen production) 50%;
Research Types Applied Research and Development 100%
Science and Technology Fields ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Electrical and Electronic Engineering) 100%
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Project Contact
No email address given
Western Power Distribution (WPD) - South West
Award Type Network Innovation Allowance
Funding Source Ofgem
Start Date 01 April 2022
End Date 28 February 2023
Duration ENA months
Total Grant Value £108,702
Industrial Sectors Power
Region South West
Programme Network Innovation Allowance
Investigators Principal Investigator Project Contact , Western Power Distribution (WPD) - South West (99.997%)
  Other Investigator Project Contact , Western Power Distribution (WPD) - East Midlands (0.001%)
Project Contact , Western Power Distribution (WPD) - South Wales (0.001%)
Project Contact , Western Power Distribution (WPD) - West Midlands (0.001%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , Western Power Distribution (0.000%)
Web Site https://smarter.energynetworks.org/projects/NIA_WPD_067
Objectives The HERACLES project will pioneer the development of solutions to this problem by developing an understanding of how DNOs might strategically address connecting electrolytic hydrogen plants to their networks and ensure their optimum operation. The project will consist of the following work packages:WP1: Discovery and criteria developmentThis work package will capture existing knowledge gaps on hydrogen electrolysers and the wider hydrogen economy, existing connection assessment processes and the tools currently used to optimise connections (e.g. capacity maps) and the requisite answers for developing a hydrogen strategy for ED. It will assess the current UK landscape for the development of the hydrogen economy to understand in detail the problem as described above and develop the criteria for identifying optimum location for hydrogen electrolyser connections.WP2: Network investigationThis work package will carry out a network investigation to test implementation of the criteria developed in WP1 on a section of WPDs network and identify optimum deployment locations in this area based on the expected operating behaviour identified in the discovery phase. The selected network area will be around two BSPs in WPDs licence areas. If possible, selection of this network area will leverage knowledge of UK hydrogen economy growth gleaned through discovery activities in WP1. Otherwise, an area in WPDs South West region will be the default study location.WP3: Hydrogen electrolyser connection considerations documentThis work package will collate the find of the previous work packages to outline at high-level the considerations for assessing the impact of hydrogen electrolyser connections to the distribution network and discuss the factors most important for optimising connection locations. It will contextualise this discussion with recommendations and next steps for DNOs to develop an ED hydrogen strategy. Hydrogen will likely play a prominent role in the decarbonisation of UK plc, due to the UKs extensive gas infrastructure. It will contribute to the decarbonisation of transport, through hydrogen fuel cells or hydrogen combustion, and heating, through hydrogen boilers or hybrid heat pumps. Taking a Whole System approach to decarbonisation means that electricity networks should ensure that they are not the barrier to the growth of green hydrogen.The UK Hydrogen Strategy released in September 2021 has committed the UK government to a target of 5 GW of low carbon hydrogen production, around of half of which is expected to be produced via electrolysis. The UK gas industry, local authorities (especially those in rural locations), academia and innovators (including multiple UKRI and SIF funded projects) are working to grow the hydrogen economy in the UK to meet this strategic ambition Hydrogen electrolysers which will produce the hydrogen are electrically powered, and will require sizeable electrical demand connections in order to function effectively. Furthermore, it is anticipated that the burden for connection reinforcement will be shifted further towards networks in the ED2 period. It is important therefore to optimise the capacity available on electricity networks for the uptake of electrolysers and reduce reinforcement costs funded by network customers.The growth of hydrogen production also presents new opportunities to provide benefits for customers. For example, new PEM (variously Proton Exchange Membrane or Polymer Electrolyte Membrane) electrolysers can be dynamically controlled with fast response times and high energy efficiency. There is significant potential for these electrolysers to offer new types of flexibility and interoperability and to embed these in connection agreements. Even conservatively estimating that if 1% of the new hydrogen capacity could be made available as flexibility, and 1% of that capacity aligned with constrain management zones could unlock over 600 MWh of flexibility capacity across WPDs licence areas.WPDs procurement of flexibility in RIIO-1 has so far deferred more than £40m of reinforcement for more than 590 MWh of flexibility. Based on this ratio, the estimated value of the flexibility unlocked would be £42m.Additional reinforcement deferment benefits may also be seen in the use of hydrogen for transport. Hydrogen may prove to be a more cost-effective low carbon transport option for rural and heavy industry applications than electric vehicles, and the growth in hydrogen transport would obviate the need to provide network infrastructure for EV charging in those areas. Understand the current and future development of the hydrogen economy in the UK.Understand the technical and operational characteristics of hydrogen electrolysers.Develop an understanding of how electrolyser connections to distribution networks may be optimised.
Abstract The UKs Hydrogen Strategy sets a target for 5 GW of green hydrogen production capacity in the UK by 2030. It is anticipated that around half of this hydrogen will be produced via electrolysis, which means adding significant demand to electricity networks. Currently, there are knowledge gaps on the likely operating behaviour and demand characteristics of electrolysers, and how they will interact with electricity networks. The HERACLES project will take the first steps to solving this problem by developing an understanding of where electrolytic hydrogen plants can best be deployed in WPDs licence areas, and identify the type and level of data required to ensure the optimum operation of electrolysers on the network.
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 14/10/22