In December 2020, the CCC (Climate Change Committee), recommended a large scale-up of low carbon electricity and low carbon hydrogen in the pathway to zero emissions. The UK government is aiming to develop 5GW of low carbon hydrogen capacity by 2030. This will should be enough to power around 1,500,000 homes around the UK. This development could create significant environmental benefits, such as reportedly a 9% cut in overall carbon emissions by 2032.
With 85% of the UK homes connected to the gas network, a huge change is needed to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
The CCC suggests that hydrogen will add value in areas less suited to electrification and will be vital in providing flexibility to deal with intermittency caused by renewable generation in the power system. The main role for hydrogen, however, appears to be in areas like shipping and hard-to-decarbonise parts of industry. Low carbon gas (hydrogen and biomethane) could potentially meet just 13% of overall domestic heat demand, though it may also add value in ‘topping up’ heat in homes where the main heating system is a heat pump. Up to five million homes could have hybrid systems that use both a heat pump and a hydrogen or biomethane boiler – with low carbon gas meeting just 20% of heating demand in these houses.
There may be additional niche uses for hydrogen too. In regions where ‘green’ hydrogen produced by abundant renewable electricity could be used as a form of energy storage, it may be more practical to heat homes from this source. For example, hydrogen could be used for residential heating in low population areas located near to hydrogen production facilities, if the electrification of these homes is difficult.
Hydrogen – Energy:
Apart from hydrogen not emitting any carbon when it is burnt, there are also some more great advantages of this fuel source. Hydrogen contains a huge 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.
What About Hydrogen Gas Fires?
The government has already allocated significant amounts of money towards Hy4Heat. Hy4Heat is a study, which as a company we are actively involved in, is looking 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 to decarbonising heat in the UK, and being at the forefront of fire development for the future.
For our range of current gas fires, please visit our gas fire section. Should you have any specific questions related to hydrogen gas fires, please get in touch. A member of our technical team will be able to assist with any questions you have.