National Grid completes hydrogen-powered substation trial

The company tested a low carbon energy system that could potentially help the company replace diesel generators

Big Zero Report 2022

National Grid has trialled the use of a hydrogen-powered generator at one of its facilities to explore the feasibility of a wider rollout of a system that could potentially cut emissions from operations.

A 250kW hydrogen power unit (HPU) was installed at National Grid’s Deeside Centre for Innovation and generated the energy to power low-voltage equipment needed for the site.

The trial aims to explore whether it is feasible to use HPUs as replacements for backup diesel generators across more than 250 National Grid substation sites.

National Grid currently uses diesel generators to provide backup power to a substation for key activities such as cooling fans, pumps and lighting.

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 alternatives could reduce carbon intensity by 90% and save more than 500,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions, National Grid said.

Prem Ranjan, Test Engineer at Deeside Centre for Innovation, said: “The trial results for electrical performance and environmental aspects along with hydrogen management at our substations will now be examined as viable zero-emission alternatives to diesel backup generators.”

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