Imperial College London

Professor Nigel Brandon OBE FREng

Faculty of Engineering

Dean of the Faculty of Engineering



+44 (0)20 7594 8600n.brandon Website




2.06Faculty BuildingSouth Kensington Campus






BibTex format

author = {Balcombe, P and Speirs, J and Johnson, E and Martin, J and Brandon, N and Hawkes, A},
doi = {10.1016/j.rser.2018.04.089},
journal = {Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews},
pages = {1077--1088},
title = {The carbon credentials of hydrogen gas networks and supply chains},
url = {},
volume = {91},
year = {2018}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Projections of decarbonisation pathways have typically involved reducing dependence on natural gas grids via greater electrification of heat using heat pumps or even electric heaters. However, many technical, economic and consumer barriers to electrification of heat persist. The gas network holds value in relation to flexibility of operation, requiring simpler control and enabling less expensive storage. There may be value in retaining and repurposing gas infrastructure where there are feasible routes to decarbonisation. This study quantifies and analyses the decarbonisation potential associated with the conversion of gas grids to deliver hydrogen, focusing on supply chains. Routes to produce hydrogen for gas grids are categorised as: reforming natural gas with (or without) carbon capture and storage (CCS); gasification of coal with (or without) CCS; gasification of biomass with (or without) CCS; electrolysis using low carbon electricity. The overall range of greenhouse gas emissions across routes is extremely large, from − 371 to 642 gCO 2 eq/kW h H2 . Therefore, when including supply chain emissions, hydrogen can have a range of carbon intensities and cannot be assumed to be low carbon. Emissions estimates for natural gas reforming with CCS lie in the range of 23–150 g/kW h H2 , with CCS typically reducing CO 2 emissions by 75%. Hydrogen from electrolysis ranges from 24 to 178 gCO 2 eq/kW h H2 for renewable electricity sources, where wind electricity results in the lowest CO 2 emissions. Solar PV electricity typically exhibits higher emissions and varies significantly by geographical region. The emissions from upstream supply chains is a major contributor to total emissions and varies considerably across different routes to hydrogen. Biomass gasification is characterised by very large negative emissions in the supply chain and very large positive emissions in the gasification process. Therefore, improvements in total emissions are large if even small i
AU - Balcombe,P
AU - Speirs,J
AU - Johnson,E
AU - Martin,J
AU - Brandon,N
AU - Hawkes,A
DO - 10.1016/j.rser.2018.04.089
EP - 1088
PY - 2018///
SN - 1364-0321
SP - 1077
TI - The carbon credentials of hydrogen gas networks and supply chains
T2 - Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
UR -
UR -
VL - 91
ER -