Keele University is set to become a guinea pig for low-carbon heating from next year, as part of a new trial to pipe hydrogen gas into the heating network. The HyDeploy project, which is being run by gas distribution company Cadent and officially launched last night at a Parliamentary reception, will see hydrogen gas pumped into Keele University’s private gas network. Up to a share of 20 per cent hydrogen will be blended into supplies to test how much can be safely used as part of existing gas distribution systems. Hydrogen is widely viewed as a much greener alternative to natural gas, because when burnt it produces only water and oxygen. However, to fully convert the UK’s gas network to hydrogen some 26m domestic boilers would need to be swapped for hydrogen-compatible ones, an expensive undertaking. Cadent thinks a blend of up to 20 per cent hydrogen could be feasible to cut heating emissions without compromising domestic boilers and cooking equipment. The live trial is backed by Ofgem’s Network Innovation Competition, and is the first stage in an ambitious £600m project that would eventually encompass millions of homes and businesses across Liverpool and Manchester.