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The Government department, BEIS (Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy) are exploring if it’s viable to replace natural gas with hydrogen for domestic heating and cooking. As a company we are already investigating this as a very possible option in the coming years. The key advantage of burning hydrogen is that it produces zero carbon emissions during combustion.
Burning hydrogen would be a move towards decarbonising heat in the UK, which in turn will help towards combating climate change and keeping global warming to a minimum.
As a company – we are contributing to a greener future:
The government has already allocated £25m towards a high profile study called “Hy4Heat”. This study, which as a company we are actively involved in, will look at a range of work packages, which will help establish the parameters for using hydrogen as a replacement for natural gas in our homes and also commercial premises.
In our Hy4Heat consortium, we are specifically looking at the viability of developing gas fires, which can safely run on hydrogen. We like to think being involved in such an exciting and forward thinking study, demonstrates our commitment for decarbonising heat in the UK, and being at the forefront of fire development for the future.
Hy4Heat – Their Mission:
“To establish if it is technically possible, safe, and convenient to replace natural gas (methane) with hydrogen in residential and commercial buildings and gas appliances. This will enable the government to determine whether to proceed to a community trial.” More can be found at their website – https://www.hy4heat.info/
Hydrogen – Energy:
Apart from hydrogen not emitting any carbon when it is burnt, there are also some more great advantages of such, essentially from it’s energy output. Hydrogen contains a large amount of energy. There is the same energy in 1kg of hydrogen as there is in 2.8kg of gasoline.
For each million British Thermal Units (BTU) of energy (the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit), natural gas will emit 117lbs of CO2, while coal will produce 228lbs. If we were to switch the UK’s entire gas system to hydrogen, it would cut carbon emission by (as a minimum) 73%. This would go a very long way in making a cleaner, greener environment for all.
Hydrogen: Explosion Risk:
It’s a well-know fact that hydrogen is highly flammable. Often when you talk to someone about a hydrogen fuelled item, whether that be a car or fire, they will often quickly point this fact out – often with distinct air of worry in their voice. But it’s not as a terrifying idea as people first imagine. Hydrogen has a very small molecule size, and so if there is a release of hydrogen it is very possible that it will be less likely to become flammable than compared to natural gas.
Hydrogen: Draw Backs:
Although hydrogen does not emit CO2 at point of use, the process of making it does. Currently, around 90% of the world’s hydrogen is made in steam methane reformers. This combines natural gas with high temperature steam, which separates the hydrogen and the carbon, the latter of which is then sequestered, captured and stored. This needs to be done effectively so that carbon is not leaked and released into the atmosphere. Another way of mitigating carbon emissions for Hydrogen production is to use surplus grid electricity, to electrolyse Hydrogen from water. This becomes especially viable when excess green wind or solar energy can be converted to Hydrogen, and stored or passed into the gas supply grid instead of being wasted.
Despite the drawbacks associated with hydrogen, there are a lot of very significant advantages, which have been made clear in this article. Close attention will need to be paid to many things, to ensure a safe transition from gas to hydrogen prevails – whenever or however that may be.
Hy4Heat – Story Board: