Government to explore use of hydrogen heating systems

The government will establish ‘large scale’ trials of hydrogen for heating, in what could be a viable alternative to using heat pumps.

In theory hydrogen gas could be used to replace natural gas in boilers, though there are technological barriers to surpass before that could happen.

The government’s interest in hydrogen as a solution is outlined in its 368-page Net Zero Strategy document.

The document targets “Establishing large scale trials of hydrogen for heating to take decisions in 2026 on the role of hydrogen in decarbonising heating”, and consulting “on the case for enabling or requiring hydrogen-ready boilers and broader heating system efficiencies”.

The government went onto to say that the priority is making technology cheaper, easier to install and appealing to consumers.

Some £60m is also being spent on heat pump innovation in order to make them “beautiful, smaller and easier to install”.

Hydrogen boilers are attractive because they could run on some of the same infrastructure as gas boilers, using the same pipelines and fittings.

They would be installed in the same way as a gas boiler and could be connected to the gas network.

The different would be the flame detector and burner would be replaced to suit hydrogen, while a hydrogen boiler would only emit water – and no carbon.

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