Hydrogen heating comes to Northumberland homes

The first boilers in the UK to utilise hydrogen are now heating homes in Northumberland.

The HyStreet test site in Spadeadam is made up of specially built demonstration houses where over 200 tests have been completed to research and confirm the safety of switching homes and gas networks to hydrogen.

The project, which is part ofOfgem’s Network Innovation Competition H21, is headed by Northern Gas Networks with partners that include Cadent, Scottish Gas Networks, Wales & West Utilities, National Grid, DNV GL and the Health and Safety Executive’s science division. H21 is showing how current natural gas networks can be repurposed to safely carry 100 per cent hydrogen.

The first demonstration has seen Worcester Bosch & Baxi Heating install combi-boilers into the houses on HyStreet. The programme is part of the UK Government-funded Hy4Heat programme which is also helping the development of hydrogen-ready gas cookers, fires and gas meters.

Tim Harwood, Northern GasNetworks’ project director for H21 announced: “Seeing the boilers in situ at Spadeadam is an exciting step in the journey to realising our goal of a gas network transporting 100 per cent hydrogen to customers. The hydrogen boiler looks and feels just like the natural gas version we all have today and is just as user-friendly, showing that a transition could cause minimal disruption to customers.”

Approximately 85 per cent of UK homes currently depend on natural gas for heating and hot water. Repurposing the grid to use hydrogen will help decarbonise their heating without the need for lengthy changes to their current system.

Dan Allason, head of research and innovation at DNV GL’s Spadeadam Research and Testing said: “Replacing all gas boilers with electric alternatives could be extremely costly. Both of the boiler manufacturers have developed options with their hydrogen-ready prototypes to assist the switch to a lower-carbon alternative.

“Having these fitted to the HyStreet demonstration project at Spadeadam gives gravitas to the proof of concept and public acceptability of appliances such as these. The boilers are one of the first important steps.”

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