The Hydrogen Taskforce, a group of ten organisations including BP, Shell and Baxi are pushing for greater use of hydrogen to deliver on the UK’s 2050 zero carbon commitment. Their report “The Role of Hydrogen in Delivering Net Zero”, launched on 2 March 2020 contained a number of policy initiatives including:
- Requiring all new gas boilers sold to be hydrogen ready from 2025
- Amending the Gas Safety Management Regulations (GSMR) to permit the gas grid to contain upto 20% Hydrogen by 2022
- Allowing 100% hydrogen in the gas grid by 2025
By switching to hydrogen ready boilers, the 1.6 million gas boilers sold in the UK each year would be future proofed and permit more rapid switch over of the gas network to 100% hydrogen. The hydrogen could be:
- Green hydrogen: produced by the electrolysis of water
- Blue hydrogen: produced through steam methane reforming or autothermal reforming of fossil fuel coupled with Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS).
As more electrolysis capacity came on line, the blue hydrogen and use of fossil fuels could be phased out.
Allowing upto 20% hydrogen in the gas grid would allow limited decarbonisation of the existing system with minimal disruption to existing appliances. A green energy trial, HyDeploy is currently underway at Keele University to check the practicalities of 20% hydrogen in the gas grid.
Great Home’s view is that these are sensible steps for government to take. It would allow the gradual natural replacement of millions of existing gas boilers ready for a switch to zero carbon. It could also potentially permit the use of smaller output hydrogen boilers in new homes, as an alternative option to requiring the currently planned switch to Air Source Heat Pumps for space and water heating from 2025.
Hydrogen Taskkforce (2020). The Role of Hydrogen in Delivering Net Zero [online]. Available at: https://great-home.co.uk/pdf/pdfresizer.com-pdf-resize-1.pdf