Heating homes with clean hydrogen will be ‘pretty much impossible’, says UK energy minister 

Posted: October 6, 2021 by oldbrew in Energy, government, hydrogen, net zero, opinion
Tags: , ,

Eco house with hydrogen heating technology. [Image credit: emergingrisks.co.uk]

Another green energy pipe dream bites the dust, before trials have even started? Massive cost compared to other options is just one of the stumbling blocks. Anything more expensive than electricity seems pointless anyway.
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Lord Callanan’s comments come as the British government continues to invest millions of pounds in H2 heating trials, says the Telegraph (via Recharge News).

“If I’m being honest, the idea that we could produce enough hydrogen at reasonable cost to displace mains gas is pretty much impossible,” said Lord Callanan, parliamentary under-secretary of state for climate change & corporate responsibility at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The UK government is currently investing millions of pounds in studies on hydrogen heating, with £25m ($34m) ploughed into the Hy4Heat programme; a pilot scheme in Scotland to heat 300 homes with 100% hydrogen via the existing gas grid due to take place in 2023, backed by up to £18m of grants from the industry regulator Ofgem; and plans to heat a whole town with H2 by 2030.

The UK national hydrogen strategy, unveiled in August, also includes a public consultation on “enabling, or requiring, new natural gas boilers to be easily convertible to use hydrogen (’hydrogen-ready’) by 2026″.

“Hydrogen has the potential to play a key role in decarbonising heat in buildings in the UK,” the strategy states. “We are rapidly delivering major studies and testing work to understand the feasibility of using hydrogen for heating, to inform broader strategic decisions in 2026 on heat decarbonisation.”

The UK’s five gas distributors are lobbying hard to replace the methane in their grids with pure hydrogen, with their Gas Goes Green programme declaring: “We’re creating the world’s first zero carbon gas grid by speeding up the switch from natural gas to hydrogen for the 85% of UK households connected to the gas grid.”

But they may be fighting a losing battle. Electric heat pumps are six times more efficient, meaning that a boiler burning green hydrogen would require six times as much renewable energy as a heat pump to produce the same amount of heat, making it an extremely expensive proposition.

Full article here.

  1. ilma630 says:

    “The UK national hydrogen strategy,” 🤣🤣🤣🤣That’s a laugh. Even the most basic of rational thought would reveal that it’s an absurd proposal.

  2. pameladragon says:

    So much money spent to find out they can’t do it! Shame on those gas distributors for lobbying to replace methane and natural gas with Hydrogen! They must already know that it is not possible with the existing infrastructure and are just wasting money on virtue signaling!

  3. JB says:

    I’d be hanging on to all the methane appliances subsequent to the trials failing. And fail they will. Worst case, those may be the only things left on the property…

  4. oldbrew says:

    Looks like all the ‘green’ hydrogen they can muster will be going to trucks, buses, trains etc. In any case, who is going to want to pay more for hydrogen at home than for comparable power from electricity?

    Electric boilers are available now, but not suitable for larger homes (e.g. multiple bathrooms).
    [disclaimer: I have no financial or other interests in them!]

  5. ilma630 says:

    Which businesses and organisations are going to pay the increased cost of hydrogen and all the supply/storage infrastructure, and buy new vehicles when they are already under severe commercial pressure?

  6. Graham says:

    The Victorians use to heat, light and cook with hydrogen. As a kid I use to fill balloons with town gas because they would float, there was so much hydrogen in it. There was also a touch of carbon monoxide, that was good for the odd murder or to end it all by sticking your head in a gas oven.
    At school the Bunsen burners use to roar like a blow torch on coal gas but with natural gas the flame hardly seem to do anything but boy did it boil water faster.
    We already know the effect of using a low energy density fuel like hydrogen compared with a higher density fuel like methane or perhaps we have forgotten and that’s why we have to do these trials at tax payers expense.
    I wish I could come back in 200 years to see what future historians would make of the fiasco we are living through.

  7. Coeur de Lion says:

    Lovely pictures of laughing Princess Nuts in The Times today and yesterday. She’s to blame for the rise in fuel poverty from 2.4 million households on upwards at today’s energy prices.

  8. oldbrew says:

    Government refusal of North Sea natural gas field is irrational
    Date: 08/10/21 Global Warming Policy Forum

    The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF) has criticised the government’s decision to halt further natural gas development in the North Sea, in the middle of a worsening energy and gas cost crisis, as bizarre and irrational.
    . . .
    It is suspected that the UK government was reluctant to be seen consenting fossil fuels in the run-up to COP 26, the UN climate conference to be held in Glasgow this November, and which the UK is chairing.

    The refusal of the Shell Jackdaw proposal is all the more confusing since natural gas is an essential component in the government’s Net Zero proposals.

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