Northern Gas Networks (NGN)’s InTEGReL (Integrated Transport Electricity Gas Research Laboratory) has been launched in Gateshead in the north of England and will operate in collaboration with Northern Powergrid and Newcastle University. This will be in partnership with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the National Centre for Energy Systems Integration (CESI).
NGN is a British company responsible for distributing gas to homes and businesses across Yorkshire, the North East and northern Cumbria, England.
The laboratory is an incubator for innovative whole energy systems technology, enabling businesses to test their ideas in real-world conditions on a large scale.
Working towards a zero carbon energy network
The launch of the new site forms part of NGN’s work to establish a fully integrated, zero carbon energy network.
Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said: “As part of our Industrial Strategy this Government is working closely with partners in the energy sector to position the UK at the forefront of global efforts to develop carbon-free energy solutions.
The research site promotes ‘big thinking’
The site will feature smart grid technology, research into battery storage and hydrogen expertise, building on NGN’s H21 City Gate project, which proved that the existing gas network has the capacity to be converted to zero carbon hydrogen.
When completed, the site will host a high-tech battery storage and research lab, domestic appliances and smart system demonstration homes, and hydrogen and compressed natural gas (CNG) refuelling stations for vehicles.
Mark Horsley, CEO of Northern Gas Networks, said: “We are delighted to open InTEGReL which we see as another step forward in our work towards a zero-carbon energy future. The site will bring together the best and brightest in this field and encourage the big thinking that is required if we are to secure, affordable, low carbon energy future.
“At Northern Gas Networks 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, gas, and renewables to power heating, lighting and transport, 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.”
A Newcastle University press release reads: “ InTEGReL will tackle the UK’s energy challenges head on, with teams of academics and engineers working to deliver breakthroughs in the decarbonisation of heat, energy storage and transport. It is an investment in the consumer, as the principal aim will be working to identify the most affordable and practical solution to moving customers onto low carbon, low cost energy.”