The first homes have been heated using hydrogen gas as part of a demonstration project at in Northumberland.
The ‘HyStreet’ test site consists of specially-built demonstration houses, with more than 200 tests completed to research and prove the safety of converting homes and gas networks to hydrogen.
The project, part of Ofgem’s Network Innovation Competition H21, is led by Northern Gas Networks with partners including Cadent, Scottish Gas Networks, Wales & West Utilities, National Grid, DNV GL and the Health and Safety Executive’s science division.
H21 is demonstrating how existing natural gas networks can be repurposed to safely carry 100% hydrogen.
The first demonstration has seen Worcester Bosch and Baxi Heating install combi-boilers into the houses on HyStreet, developed as part of the UK Government-funded Hy4Heat programme, which is also supporting the development of hydrogen-ready gas cookers, fires and gas meters.
Tim Harwood, Northern Gas Networks’ Project Director for H21 said: “Seeing the boilers in situ at Spadeadam is an exciting step in the journey to realising our goal of a gas network transporting 100% 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.”
Around 85% of UK homes currently rely on natural gas for heating and hot water – repurposing the grid to use hydrogen would help decarbonise their heating without the need for extensive changes to their existing system.
Dan Allason, Head of Research and Innovation at DNV GL’s Spadeadam Research and Testing added: “Eight out of 10 homes in the UK use a gas boiler to heat their homes and provide hot water and 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.”