Hydrogen - the element of success?

Hydrogen - the element of success?

The UK’s first homes are to be fitted with boilers and hobs that run on hydrogen rather than fossil fuel gas in April.

The new development in the north east will use 100% hydrogen for heating and cooking appliances, under a government scheme that could be rolled out to entire neighbourhoods.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the energy minister, said the two houses “will showcase how low-carbon hydrogen can transform the way we power our homes and offer a glimpse of what the future holds as we build back greener”.

Why hydrogen?

Using fossil fuel gas for heating and cooking is responsible for about 30% of the UK’s emissions, but burning hydrogen is emissions-free and could play a key role in helping the UK to meet its net zero emissions target.

Potential controversy

Some in the energy industry believe it would be safer and more efficient to use electric hobs and heat pumps – and those aren’t the only objections raised.

Hydrogen can be costly to produce without contributing to climate emissions because it relies on either using renewable energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen to make “green hydrogen”, or using carbon capture technology to prevent the emissions released by splitting fossil fuel gas into “blue hydrogen".

Comment from Elmhurst Energy Consultancy

Elmhurst Energy Consultancy welcomes this initiative, which can help to demonstrate to the public how hydrogen-fuelled appliances could perform in a regular home. As it produces no carbon at the point of use, it is hoped that hydrogen will have the ability to replace natural gas in homes in the future, and as such it could play a part in bringing buildings up to the Future Homes standard being brought in in 2025.

Article published 26/02/21

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