UK probes fuelling towns and cities with hydrogen

UK engineer Arup will conduct a feasibility study into replacing natural gas with hydrogen in heating UK homes to cut the country’s carbon emissions.

The $32m Hydrogen for Heat Programme, commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), will look at installing district heating systems based on hydrogen for villages or estates.

The company will work with hydrogen energy specialist Kiwa Gastec.

The study will look at the design of hydrogen-fuelled appliances like cookers and boilers as well as the supply of the gas.

"The UK has an opportunity to lead the way in using hydrogen as a domestic fuel," said Arup’s project director Mark Neller. "This project will help establish the feasibility of converting towns and cities to it in a cost-effective way, making use of the current natural gas network."

THE UK’s climate change minister Claire Perry said the study would "explore the feasibility of the transition from natural gas" and gauge "the opinions of the people who could be using this zero-carbon fuel".

Earlier this year, it was announced that Liverpool and Manchester would be host a trial that may lead to a £600m project to supply hydrogen to domestic industrial users.

Cadent, which operates about half of the UK’s domestic gas distribution hopes to undertake the trial in the 2020s using hydrogen.

Industrial users would receive an all-hydrogen supply, for which they would have to replace their boilers; domestic users would receive a blend of hydrogen and natural gas, which is mostly composed of methane.

Image: An Alstom-made hydrogen process gas boiler (OCS)

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  1. Hydrogen is great. It is basically clean and non polluting. However it takes a tremendous amount of energy to produce Hydrogen and on a large scale it seems that only nuclear energy used for the separation of hydrogen from water would be feasible. Other than that the cost and use of fossil fuels for the process would be prohibitive

  2. Fantastic can’t wait for the change over.

  3. While the UK is at the cutting edge of the hydrogen economy, America is going backwards — even erasing the gains made since George W. Bush.

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