The government’s hydrogen heating pledge has been celebrated by industry experts, and could represent a turning point for the way we heat our homes.
Boris Johnson launched a 10-point plan this week as part of the government’s Green Industrial Revolution, and pledged to develop the first town powered entirely by hydrogen by 2030. The prime minister also confirmed that £240 million of funding will go into new hydrogen production facilities.
While gas boilers were omitted from the eligible improvements in the Green Homes Grant, hydrogen is a highly-efficient fuel which could be introduced into the mains gas grid, and with 85% of homes in England using natural gas, hydrogen could have a huge role to play in the UK’s low-carbon future.
Baxi Heating told Homebuilding & Renovating that the pledge represents a “strong message of support” for hydrogen technology, while Worcester Bosch told us that the investment could mean hydrogen will be a ready-to-go solution for heating homes in the future.
Milestone Week For Hydrogen Heating
The pledge follows another significant development for hydrogen technology this week. In a showcase of how hydrogen heating could impact our homes, hydrogen boilers from Baxi Heating and Worcester Bosch were installed into the first UK homes to demonstrate the technology’s efficiency.
The innovative prototypes will be trialed at The ‘HyStreet’ test site in Northumberland, which consist of specially built demonstration houses. More than 200 tests will now be completed to research and prove the safety and efficacy of converting homes and gas networks to hydrogen.
Coupled with the pledge from the government to back hydrogen technology, it’s an exciting time for hydrogen technology. Jeff House, Head of External Affairs at Baxi Heating, told us: “The Prime Minister's 10 Point Plan offers much to celebrate for the heating sector and signposts the direction of travel for future policy needed to meet the net-zero emissions challenge. There is a strong message of support for hydrogen.”
Carl Arntzen, CEO of Worcester Bosch, added: “The 10 steps set out by the Prime Minister are bold and we are delighted to see that hydrogen will play a key role in delivering them. The investment of £500 million in hydrogen is a positive start and can help to reduce carbon emissions significantly - particularly in the way that we heat our homes.”
“With the foundation of solid government backing, hydrogen will be a ready-to-go solution in the near future and therefore making a strong impact in the fight against climate change. It demonstrates the role that technology can and should play in finding practical solutions to the challenges that we face”.
Hydrogen Heating in Our Homes
Hydrogen technology is considered by experts to play a key role in the future of smart heating. Hydrogen would be used to make the mains gas network greener, because the main by-product of burning hydrogen gas is water.
While renewable tech such as air source heat pumps, which run off electricity, will be vital in heating our homes, it's recognised that the technology is not suitable for all homes. Greening up the gas grid therefore represents a further step forward to achieving low-carbon heating.
📢 With the prime minister's Green Industrial Revolution announcement making headlines today we are proud to unveil Baxi Heating's own #sustainability pledge📢Read here: https://t.co/w0P9F8cAjYWatch here: https://t.co/AClJ4oNz3x#carbonneutral#lowcarbonenergy pic.twitter.com/A6iQj9WmKJNovember 18, 2020
The current trials in Northumberland will demonstrate how existing gas networks can be repurposed to safely carry 100% hydrogen.
And should hydrogen eventually replace natural gas, it could have a major impact on homeowners - hydrogen boilers could significantly reduce carbon emissions.
And the transition might be easier than you might think. Hydrogen boilers like the ones developed by Baxi and Worcester Bosch can run on 100% hydrogen as well as natural gas. This means that transferring to hydrogen gas in the future will be easy for those with a hydrogen-ready boiler because it can convert to hydrogen without the need for an entirely new heating system.
Hydrogen Heating: What Has Been Promised?
The prime minister has announced up to £500m to help progress hydrogen heating, including trailing homes using hydrogen for heating and cooking. Of this, £240m will go into new hydrogen production facilities.
The standout pledge is of course to develop the first town heated entirely by hydrogen by the end of the decade, but there are some milestone targets along the way: starting with a hydrogen neighbourhood in 2023, moving to a hydrogen village by 2025.
The government will also work with industry professionals to help generate 5GW of low-carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 for homes, as well as transport and power.
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