Northern Gas Networks (NGN) has launched InTEGReL (Integrated Transport Electricity Gas Research Laboratory), the UK’s first fully integrated energy systems research, development and demonstration site as part of its work to develop a fully integrated, zero carbon energy network moving from cleaner to clean, greener to green. InTEGReL will tackle the UK’s energy challenges head on, with teams of academics and engineers working to deliver breakthroughs in the decarbonisation of transport, heat and energy storage.
The £30 million site in Gateshead, which will be operated in collaboration with Northern Powergrid and Newcastle University, in partnership with the EPSRC National Centre for Energy Systems Integration (CESI), is an incubator for cutting edge whole energy systems technology, allowing forward-thinking businesses to test their ideas in real-world conditions, and at a large scale.
The Energy Networks Association estimates that £80 billion of private investment will be made in the UK’s energy networks by the year 2020. If a whole systems approach saved just 5% of that cost, savings of around £4 billion could be passed to the customer through energy bills.
The site will feature cutting edge smart grid technology and be at the forefront of hydrogen expertise, building on NGN’s industry leading H21 City Gate project, which proved that the existing gas network has the capacity to be converted to zero carbon hydrogen. When completed, it will host a high tech battery storage and research lab, domestic appliances and smart system demonstration homes as well as CNG and hydrogen refueling stations for vehicles.
“We have been working on our energy future project for a number of years, and this is a big breakthrough. Fully integrated energy systems that combine electricity, natural gas, and renewables to power transport, heating and lighting can help to reduce the use of primary energy, cut costs and increase the reliability of our energy networks. It really is an issue of national importance and one which we take very seriously,” said Mark Horsley, CEO of Northern Gas Networks.
Source: Northern Gas Networks