GCS Compliance had the pleasure of visiting the Hydrogen show homes located on the Northern Gas Networks site in Low Thornley, Gateshead in October of 2021.
The gas appliances in the show homes use 100% hydrogen in place of Natural gas or LPG so release no carbon emissions directly.
The programme is run by Northern Gas Networks and Cadent as part of the government HY4HEAT innovation programme.
Currently, both homes have combination boilers provided by Worcester, Bosch and Baxi and the appliances will be rotating to allow other manufacturers to showcase their own innovations
It is worth noting that there is no physical difference in either size or appearance of any of the hydrogen-fuelled appliances other than an LED on the gas hobs to enable the flames to be more visible due to the fact the flame is invisible when hydrogen is burned. All the devices have had to be adapted to “add colour to the flame” except for the boilers which have omitted the flame rectification in place of an optical sensor.
The use of hydrogen as a fuel for domestic appliances is not a silver bullet solution and each form of renewable technology will have its place in Britain’s homes and while using hydrogen for heating is not necessarily the best solution for decarbonising UK homes, it does have a role to play in reaching net-zero.
While heat pumps are currently the more viable solution, It is not necessary to choose between heat pumps or hydrogen as hydrogen still has the potential to replace the use of fossil fuels where electrification is not an option and we need both to reach net-zero.
Realistically though, until the UK has an affordable and abundant source of green hydrogen (produced by wind power) or greater CCUS infrastructure for blue hydrogen, it is not a viable solution for heating UK homes.
However, with heat pump technology readily available and the government’s ambitious plans to install 600,000 per year by 2028, we expect this technology to pave the way in transitioning to net-zero heat by 2050.
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Image: GCS Hydrogen Homes, those pictured left to right Tommy Andrews, Damon Price, Nick Marshall.