The latest report on hydrogen from Policy Exchange: Fuelling the Future, released on 20th September, identified that there has been a recent stall in emission reductions over the last five years, and in 2017 emissions rose by 1%.
As we strive towards a greener future, something has to be done to continue the downward trend of our reliance on fossil fuels.
Hydrogen could be a key contributor in this aim.
Gas networks currently supply 87% of homes and 23 million households, so the introduction of hydrogen with coordinated leadership from industry and central government, will make a huge impact on the decarbonisation process.
What are ‘Fuelling the Futures’ Recommendations?
Fuelling the Future recommends that in the short term, long distance freight offers the best opportunities for implementing hydrogen use at scale, and national and local government should work with the private sector to invest in the necessary refuelling network as well as innovation grants for pilot programmes.
According to the report, Scotland and North East England offer the best opportunities for successful hydrogen production hubs, while investment in cost-effective hydrogen production techniques – such as electrolysis – would open up export opportunities.
Why is the Gas Industry getting Excited about Hydrogen?
Our ‘Ultimate Guide to Future Proof Installers’ refers to Hydrogen as the ‘gas’ of the future, it only produces water and heat when burnt, which suggests it is more environmentally friendly than natural gas.
In the 2020s, Cadent, which currently runs gas connections to half of the homes in the UK, plan to replace a percentage of the methane in pipelines with Hydrogen, with no major adjustment to current boiler equipment or stoves necessary.
David Parkin, Engineering Director at Cadent said: “We want to help demonstrate a pathway to the de-carbonisation of heat that is not only lowest cost to UK plc but is minimally invasive to customers.
As the demand for hydrogen is likely to increase, Tees Valley who currently produce 50% of the UK’s hydrogen, state they have a strong base to do more.
How will it Affect Gas Installers?
A change to hydrogen is good for gas installers as the existing gas network infrastructure means there’s a ready-made storage system, and a means for distribution.
To fully switch to hydrogen, the 26m gas boilers in the UK would need to be changed to compatible models; a significant investment and a potential opportunity for all installers.
For a further insight into the future of heat click here to read our guide. It explores the potential of future developments to include solar panels, heat pumps, biomass and more.
For more information about Fuelling the Future, click here.