What is hydrogen? (H2)

So, you’ve heard about hydrogen. But what really is it?

Hydrogen is the most abundant chemical in the universe. In its gaseous form it can be burned to provide heat without releasing carbon into the atmosphere.

It can be found in large quantities of the water in oceans, rivers, lakes, and the atmosphere as well as in all animal and vegetable tissues and petroleum.

Green Hydrogen

Green hydrogen is hydrogen produced without the release of carbon dioxide or CO₂. This is done by using electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen in a process known as electrolysis.

Gas Networks Ireland are actively working on transitioning to a carbon-free gas network. Incorporating and blending green hydrogen into our network is a very possible and practical solution for storing and transporting renewable energy in the near future.

What role will hydrogen play in Ireland's energy future?

Hydrogen is well suited for storage, making it an attractive option to decarbonise energy systems and drive a cleaner energy future for Ireland and beyond.

As Gas Networks Ireland works towards decarbonising our national gas infrastructure, hydrogen will play an integral role in Ireland’s energy future.

Hydrogen enables the optimisation and full exploitation of renewable electricity generation forms in Ireland by utilising excess generation that would otherwise be curtailed to produce green hydrogen for onward use on the gas network.

Hydrogen networks will play a key role in this future system, similar to the role played by the natural gas network today; supporting the deployment of increased renewable energy, providing resilience and flexibility to the electricity system, and serving the heat needs of industry and businesses across the country.

Home Appliances – Emissions Reductions

Technical experts from Gas Network’s Ireland and the University College Dublin Energy Institute, completed a report on the impact of blending hydrogen with natural gas on home appliances.

They found that appliances remain fully functional using a natural gas blend of up to 20% hydrogen. This means households will not need to make any changes to their existing domestic appliances or notice any difference.

Their research also outlines that significant reductions in emissions can be achieved by blending hydrogen with natural gas. Examples of which including the following average reductions for a standard domestic gas boiler:

  • 12% reduction in carbon dioxide (CO₂)
  • 37% reduction in carbon monoxide (CO)
  • 40% reduction in nitrogen oxides (NOx)
Read the full report

The future hydrogen economy

We believe that Ireland’s gas network can and should play a central role in Ireland’s energy future. To do this we are:

  • Preparing the existing gas network to accept blends of hydrogen and natural gas from the UK
  • Preparing for the phased injection of green hydrogen into the gas network and in doing so, will support the development of the solar and onshore/offshore wind industries in Ireland.
Read more