£30m research and development facility launches in Gateshead

Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has welcomed the launch

£30m research and development facility launches in Gateshead

Northern Gas Networks (NGN) has today launched InTEGReL (Integrated Transport Electricity Gas Research Laboratory), the UK’s first fully integrated energy systems research, development and demonstration site.

The site in Gateshead, which will be operated in collaboration with Northern Powergrid and Newcastle University, in partnership with the EPSRC National Centre for Energy Systems Integration (CESI), is an incubator for cutting edge whole energy systems technology, allowing businesses to test their ideas in real-world conditions on a large scale.

The launch of the new site comes as part of NGN’s work to develop a fully integrated, zero carbon energy network.

Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said: “I welcome today’s launch of InTEGReL, the UK’s first integrated energy systems R&D facility. 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 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 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 CNG refuelling stations for vehicles.

Chi Onwurah MP, Shadow Minister for Industrial Strategy, said: “I am delighted that Northern Gas Networks, Newcastle University and Northern Powergrid have chosen the North East to launch the InTEGReL facility. This is huge vote of confidence in the region which quite literally powered the first industrial revolution and is now at the heart of the UK’s energy future.”

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.”