As reported in the Guardian, engineers are to harness the pressures found in gas pipelines across the country to generate clean electricity.

As natural gas drilled from underground is far too high a pressure to be used safely, the pressure is released at letdown stations, wasting energy.

Geo-pressure clean energy company 20C has developed technology which aims to capture this energy and generate clean electricity.

The firm has teamed up with the National Grid, which owns most of the gas pipeline networks in the UK, to build small power stations at eight letdown stations over the next few years, installing devices called turbo expanders that generate electricity as the gas pressure is reduced. The turbines can generate 1MW of electricity each.

Later this year, work will begin in Beckton, east London, to place small turbines inside the gas network pipes. It’s predicted that this scheme will produce 20MW by 2010, and could generate 1GW if rolled out across the UK.

The technology could also have other applications as reducing the gas pressure also brings about a sudden drop in temperature from 10C to -30C. The firm hopes that this could be a green way to replace refrigeration units.