Residents in Redcar on Teesside have raised concerns over the safety of a pilot project designed to replace home gas supplies with hydrogen.
Gas distributor for the North East and parts of Cumbria and Yorkshire, Northern Gas Networks had previously submitted a proposal to the government and Ofgem for a hydrogen-powered area.
If the proposal is given the go-ahead, the gas company would need to replace all home and business gas appliances, including boilers, fires and cookers with new hydrogen systems.
According to the BBC, Steve Rudd, a resident in Redcar, said hydrogen was “inherently unsafe” – it has also been reported that other residents are worried about hydrogen‘s more harmful emissions.
The report claims that people believe hydrogen is more explosive and generates more harmful nitrogen oxide than natural gas.
A Northern Gas Networks spokesperson told ELN: “We are working to ensure hydrogen is delivered and can be used at least as safely as natural gas and are liaising with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
“HSE uses the regulatory framework to improve the management of health and safety risks by gas networks. It is also assessing the evidence regarding the safety of using hydrogen in homes and through the existing gas network.
“The Hydrogen Village follows five years of testing to ensure hydrogen can be delivered and used safely and is not testing the safety of hydrogen.”
A spokesperson for Energy Networks Association, which represents the UK’s energy network operators, told ELN: “The 2025 start date for the Hydrogen Village is an important milestone in the government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.
“The scheme will help ensure that Britain’s energy networks can safely deliver different types of green energy so people can access the appliances they need to reduce their carbon emissions.
“The Hydrogen Village will be independently reviewed by the HSE to make sure it meets the most stringent standards for safety – it will only progress when the HSE is satisfied the scheme is safe.”