A new integrated energy centre to power the future

With such ambitious carbon reduction targets, the UK is coming under increasing pressure to find new and innovative ways to decarbonise the way we generate heat, store energy and transport people and goods. To this end, Newcastle University, Northern Gas Networks (NGN) and Northern Powergrid have launched InTEGReL – Integrated Transport Electricity Gas Research Laboratory – to bring together the best minds to work collaboratively to develop new energy generating technology and create new types of batteries, find better ways to use hydrogen and widen the use of CNG (compressed natural gas) in transport.

The Site

Situated in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, the site will contain state of the art laboratories with cutting edge smart grid technology and high tech equipment to investigate new battery storage technology and ways of working with hydrogen. It is expected to be at the forefront of hydrogen research which builds on from the NGN’s H21 City Gate project which proved that the existing gas network could be converted to zero carbon hydrogen. Once it’s fully completely, the site will house domestic appliance and smart system demonstration homes in addition to hydrogen and CNG refuelling stations for vehicles.

The Motivation

The principal aim of InTEGRel is to develop the most affordable and practical solutions to give the energy consumers of the UK access to low carbon and low cost energy as worldwide, the focus moves away from fossil fuels. As the Energy Networks Association predicts that £80 billion will be invested in the UK’s energy networks by 2020, a saving of just 5% brought about by a successful whole systems approach could save consumers around £4 billion. This approach will be developed by allowing academics and engineers to test their ideas on a large scale and in real-world conditions. Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy stated that “The InTEGReL project demonstrates how the private sector – working with the UK’s world class Higher Education sector – can take a leading role in helping Britain reach our 2050 emission reduction target.”

The Future

It’s hoped that this site can contribute towards creating a fully integrated zero carbon energy network using various strategies and energy generation techniques to achieve this goal. Patrick Erwin, Policy and Markets Director, at Northern Powergrid said, “Initially we’ll focus on balancing intermittent low carbon energy, such as solar, against demand, including heat, by using electrical and gas storage and transfers of energy between the two systems. Further project phases might explore novel storage and conversion technologies or the interaction with transport. Learning from this exciting project could help form the building blocks of future systems to seamlessly manage gas and electricity flows that could benefit the UK and beyond for generations to come.”

Centres like InTEGRel that see a number of different companies and academic institutions coming together to integrate different types of energy generation are paving the way for a truly clean, green energy future whilst reducing costs for the consumer. As our flow measuring computer is suitable for taking very accurate measurements all across the energy sector, we are very excited about these developments. To speak to one of our team about the versatility of our flow measurement computers and how it can help your operation, call +44 (0)1243 554920 or contact us here.