UK Boilers to be Hydrogen-Ready by 2025
British industry group Heating and Hotwater Industry Council (HHIC) has agreed in principle with UK boiler manufacturers that they will be ready for new models of domestic boilers to be “hydrogen-ready” from 2025. This commitment is several years ahead of similar action being proposed within the EU, it said March 1.
Natural gas demand in households has exceeded 200mn m³/day this winter on occasion and accounts for about half the national gas demand in winter. About four fifths of homes are already connected to the grid, which will also need modernising to cope with hydrogen. It is a very difficult molecule to deliver and combust safely but the only by-product is water.
HHIC said that the pledge will allow the government to introduce the regulation mandating hydrogen-ready boilers for UK use, safe in the knowledge that UK manufacturers will deliver those appliances into homes. HHIC has already developed a specification with industry defining ‘hydrogen-ready’ boilers while those already installed will need under an hour of adjustment to allow a future switch from natural gas to hydrogen.
“Hydrogen-ready boilers are the least disruptive means of decarbonising homes as they offer the opportunity for people to continue to heat, cook and use hot water in the same way they do today, without ripping out pipes, boilers and in some cases floors. Using the existing world-class gas network infrastructure will also be the most cost-effective solution to decarbonisation,” HHIC said.
According to retailer Centrica, which has brought forward its decarbonisation plans by five years, heating homes and businesses is the single largest contributor to carbon emissions in the UK. But there is not yet any hydrogen manufacturing at scale to test the boilers' ability to cope. Nor are any carbon capture and storage schemes likely to be operational by then. Two adjacent demonstration houses have been built with hydrogen appliances to prove the case that it is safe. They will be opened next month, by which time the need for householde heating is likely to be much reduced.