Hydrogen boilers could cause four times as many explosions as gas

Safety fears as government-backed assessment finds the alternative fuel could spark as many as 39 blasts a year

So declared the headline to a Telegraph article on 4th August, and it was far from being alone in headlining with the “four times as many explosions as gas” theme. But was it justified? And what was behind it?

In 2017 the Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) appointed Ove Arup & Partners to be the programme managers for the Hydrogen for Heat Programme. As is now standard in the ongoing infantilisation of debate and dumbing-down of standards everywhere, it is to be known as Hy4Heat. The task of the programme managers was:

to establish if it is technically possible, safe and convenient to replace natural gas (methane) with hydrogen in residential and commercial buildings and gas appliances, to enable the government to determine whether to proceed to community trial.

In fairness, the programme managers have not produced a dumbed-down piece of work. The reporti appears to have been published on (at least it bears that date) 1st May 2021, but (short-lived) interest in it in the mainstream media seems to have been limited to the last few days. It runs to 144 pages, and a detailed analysis is beyond the scope of a short article here.

Wisely, the decision seems to have been taken to make the safety assessment on the basis of:

a two storey, masonry-built, terraced house with a basement and a loft conversion. This type of property has been selected because it comprises the single largest proportion of houses in the domestic housing stock in Great Britain, and is considered to be one of the most susceptible forms of construction in relation to gas explosion risks in domestic properties. This is because they are, in general terms, the least robust, due to historic or non-existent building regulations being used in the design and construction. They are often of unknown quality and could include substantial owner/occupier modification. They are also the type of home where historically the majority of deaths and injuries have occurred and where the differences in properties between methane and hydrogen indicate that the risks from hydrogen by comparison with methane are likely to be exacerbated.

The report considers the risks from fires and explosions, and doesn’t consider the risk from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, since CO is not a waste product of hydrogen. This is one area where hydrogen is safer than natural gas (though the report does point out that the last CO fatality in the UK was in 2015).

Explosions

The report estimates an average, for the entire British population, of nine explosions (it calls them “ignited events”) per annum from natural gas, excluding any incidents which might be expected to arise from misuse of appliances (such as leaving a gas hob on but unlit).

By alarming contrast, it estimates, for the same population, an average of 39 “ignited events” per annum. They point out that they predict a greater number of very large explosions than observed in practice from historical incident reporting. The number of injuries predicted from hydrogen gas explosions are “considerably higher” than those predicted from natural gas.

This is because of the more serious consequences predicted by the Warwick model for the higher concentration hydrogen explosions.

Mitigation Measures

Only one mitigation measure that might be adopted is then considered, but it makes quite a difference.

Excess flow valves – they might substantially reduce the expected number of injuries so as to be more in line with those associated with natural gas, by reducing the frequency of large and very large leaks, which would lead to the worst-case explosions. There is, however, a caveat:

[F]urther work may be needed to determine whether there is a requirement for regular long-term maintenance strategies in order to ensure these valves are performing as expected.

Small details

Unfortunately, even very small hydrogen ignitions can be disproportionately noisy, this may need to be addressed in consumer literature at an appropriate time.

Hydrogen meters should be installed outside the property for safety reasons (many leaks are apparently associated with meters).

Ventilation – very important.

Competence and training:

Existing competent Gas Safe engineers must be upskilled for facilitation of the community trial, including installation, testing and commissioning, having undertaken an appropriate training course (and subsequent assessment) for working with hydrogen gas.

Assumptions:

A key assumption of this assessment is that hydrogen would not cause accelerated material degradation compared to natural gas in a domestic setting. And, therefore, there is no change in the likelihood of an initiating leak between the two gases. This is considered a reasonable assumption based on theory. However, there is limited published evidence regarding the use of hydrogen in low pressure networks to reference.

Conclusions

Headlines in newspapers such as the Telegraph, Daily Mail and the Mirror, to the effect that hydrogen boilers could cause four times as many explosions as would be the case with natural gas are justified only in terms of the effect of widespread installation of hydrogen boilers without the mitigation measures urged in the report. The clickbait picture associated with this article isn’t really justified, but at least I’m learning about clickbait from the BBC and the Guardian. And if I can’t trust those headlines, why should I trust the headlines associated with climate change?

Nevertheless, there are several caveats; also some irritating details (I for one don’t fancy a “disproportionately noisy” system, even if it is relatively safe); and potentially significant costs associated with the process. Where is the hydrogen to come from? As I understand it, it is going to be produced by electrolysis, so energy has to be used to generate a different energy source. I’m not sure that’s such a great idea.

And finally, what is the by-product of burning hydrogen? Water vapour. Isn’t that a greenhouse gas?

Well, the next stage is a Government trial of hydrogen gas. More taxpayers’ money will be spent in search of a magic solution to a problem that the UK on its own can’t begin to solve. All this despite the fact that we have an existing infrastructure and an efficient and relatively cheap source of heating our homes already. Natural gas, even after recent wholesale price rises, is still only around 20% of the cost to consumers of electricity, and electricity costs are only going to rise as inefficient, expensive and unreliable renewables become an increasing part of the mix.

Sigh.

i https://cliscep.files.wordpress.com/2021/08/3b050-conclusionsincqra.pdf

66 Comments

  1. “How hydrogen could help us to reach net zero”

    https://hydeploy.co.uk/about/news/how-hydrogen-could-help-us-to-reach-net-zero/

    “One of the big areas that must be considered in introducing hydrogen to the gas mix is the impact to calorific value (CV). The CV drops when hydrogen is blended in, which means that more gas must be used to get the same amount of energy at the point of use. We have therefore trialled different blends containing different levels of hydrogen to optimise the output without incurring excessive cost, with 20% hydrogen currently coming out as the most favourable option from a lab perspective.”

    So is methane (natural gas) to be replaced 100% by hydrogen or only 20%? If only 20%, what’s the point?

    Like

  2. I think a key problem with hydrogen is that we intend to replace a perfectly good system – natural gas boilers – with a system that will be more dangerous, more expensive, and will cause all sorts of upheaval re: digging up existing pipes. In other words the new system has a large heap of disadvantages, and its only advantage is that there are no carbon atoms in the gas.

    If on the other hand the new system was in some way better, then I could see perhaps justifying some of the downsides. When every house had a coal fire, plumbing in gas was clearly an enormous improvement of people’s lives, even if there were attendant risks.

    The release of water vapour is not a problem however, because of rain! If substantial amounts of CO2 snowed on Antarctica then there would probably be no issue with CO2 either (as far as I know this does not happen, even when the temperature drops below the freezing point of CO2 – perhaps the air pressure is too low at the height this could potentially happen).

    Like

  3. “Hydrogen
    An Elemental Shift in How We Use Energy”

    https://www.certifhy.ca/index.html

    “~95% of the hydrogen produced in the world today is derived from fossil fuels. So while hydrogen itself is a clean alternative, the fact that most of it comes from fossil fuels makes using this hydrogen counterproductive.

    BUT

    An increasing amount of hydrogen is being generated from clean source (e.g. through water electrolysis using renewable or low-carbon electricity)”

    I can’t help thinking common sense has gone out of the window somewhere along the road.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Here is what an ordinary (coal) gas explosion did at Ronan Points in London in 1968.
    However, hydrogen is much more explosive than coal and/or natural gas. Therefore, will we need to upgrade all of our high-rise buildings to be resistant to hydrogen explosions?

    Photo by Derek Voller, CC BY-SA 2.0
    https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=59931718

    [Edited to make image appear and give credit — passing admin]

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Angusmac, good question. I thought the report had been sensible by assessing the challenge of conversion in respect of a two storey, masonry-built, terraced house with a basement and a loft conversion. Maybe, however, they were avoiding the difficult question of what to do with high-rise buildings? It ain’t going to be easy, that’s for sure.

    Like

  6. I find it hard to imagine water vapor from burning hydrogen or any other industrial process having any significant greenhouse gas effect. I’d expect it to just get incorporated into the various hydrological equilibriums, but I suppose I could be missing something.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “Climate: WWF warns UK spending is lagging behind targets”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-58170865

    This is the usual propaganda from WWF and Harrabin, but right at the end of the article we get this:

    “Hydrogen warning
    One of the government’s new policy initiatives is to promote hydrogen as a power source. A hydrogen strategy is due soon.

    Lobby groups are pressing for widespread hydrogen use in home heating.

    But a report from Cornell and Stanford Universities warns that using hydrogen could increase emissions overall unless it’s made by electrolysis from surplus wind power.

    That’s because the most common current method of getting hydrogen is to split it from natural gas, which produces high carbon emissions.”

    The report in question can supposedly be found here (the link takes you to a website, not to the article, which you then have to search for, so far as I can see):

    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/20500505

    Like

  8. More on that story in the Guardian:

    “UK plan to replace fossil gas with blue hydrogen ‘may backfire’
    Academics warn ‘fugitive’ emissions from producing hydrogen could be 20% worse for climate than using gas”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/aug/12/uk-replace-fossil-gas-blue-hydrogen-backfire-emissions

    “The government’s plan to replace fossil gas with “blue” hydrogen to help meet its climate targets could backfire after US academics found that it may lead to more emissions than using gas.

    In some cases blue hydrogen, which is made from fossil gas, could be up to 20% worse for the climate than using gas in homes and heavy industry owing to the emissions that escape when gas is extracted from the ground and split to produce hydrogen.

    The process leaves a byproduct of carbon dioxide and methane, which fossil fuel companies plan to trap using carbon capture technology. However, even the most advanced schemes cannot capture all the emissions, leaving some to enter the atmosphere and contribute to global heating.

    Professors from Cornell and Stanford universities calculated that these “fugitive” emissions from producing hydrogen could eclipse those associated with extracting and burning gas when multiplied by the amount of gas required to make an equivalent amount of energy from hydrogen.

    Robert Howarth, a Cornell University professor and co-author of the study, said the research was the first to be published in a peer-reviewed journal to lay bare the “significant lifecycle emissions intensity of blue hydrogen”.

    The paper, which will be published in Energy Science and Engineering, warned that blue hydrogen may be “a distraction” or “something that may delay needed action to truly decarbonise the global energy economy”….”.

    Like

  9. Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond:

    “Biden-backed ‘blue’ hydrogen may pollute more than coal, study finds
    Infrastructure bill includes $8bn to develop ‘clean hydrogen’ but study finds large emissions from production of ‘blue’ hydrogen”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/aug/12/clean-fuel-blue-hydrogen-coal-study

    “The large infrastructure bill passed by the US Senate and hailed by Joe Biden as a key tool to tackle the climate crisis includes billions of dollars to support a supposedly clean fuel that is potentially even more polluting than coal, new research has found.

    The $1tn infrastructure package, which passed with bipartisan support on Tuesday, includes $8bn to develop “clean hydrogen” via the creation of four new regional hubs. The White House has said the bill advances Biden’s climate agenda and proponents of hydrogen have touted it as a low-emissions alternative to fuel shipping, trucking, aviation and even home heating.

    But a new study has found surprisingly large emissions from the production of so-called “blue” hydrogen, a variant being enthusiastically pushed by the fossil fuel industry and probably falling under the definition of clean hydrogen in the Senate bill.

    Blue hydrogen involves splitting gas into hydrogen and carbon dioxide and then capturing and storing the CO2 to ensure it doesn’t heat the planet. But this process involves the incidental release of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and uses a huge amount of energy to separate and then store the carbon dioxide, some of which escapes anyway.

    This means that the production of this hydrogen actually creates 20% more greenhouse gases than coal, commonly regarded the most polluting fossil fuel, when being burned for heat, and 60% more than burning diesel, according to the new paper, published in the Energy Science & Engineering journal.

    “It’s pretty striking, I was surprised at the results,” said Robert Howarth, a scientist at Cornell University who authored the paper alongside Mark Jacobson, a Stanford University researcher. “Blue hydrogen is a nice marketing term that the oil and gas industry is keen to push but it’s far from carbon free. I don’t think we should be spending our funds this way, on these sort of false solutions.”

    The Hydrogen Council, a group that includes the oil companies BP, Total and Shell among its members, has said that hydrogen has a “key role to play in the global energy transition” by replacing more polluting fuels, predicting it will account for 18% of total energy demand by 2050.

    Dozens of gas companies in the US have started producing hydrogen or testing its viability in existing gas pipelines, which some climate campaigners have said is a step towards entrenching fossil fuel infrastructure at a time when the world, as outlined by Monday’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, needs to rapidly move to net-zero emissions.”

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  10. As so often with these schemes, it’s not as easy as it sounds.
    Blending low levels of hydrogen into the natural gas grid should not cause major problems for domestic appliances, aiui (although burners may need regular replacement). However it would cause serious difficulties for gas turbine power plants where the combustion conditions are under very tight tolerances. An HSE report concluded that the hydrogen would have to be removed pre-combustion – assuming that could be done (absorption or membranes maybe?), what happens to the hydrogen then?
    Also the level of blending is unlikely to be uniform across the country and will vary over time (assuming the source is electrolysis powered by “excess” wind generation). That has implications for the maintenance of the calorific value and, maybe, for boiler controls.

    Wrt that article/study decrying blue hydrogen, iirc Howarth, one of the authors, has form as an anti-fracker. Whenever someone bangs the methane drum I wish they could be asked how methane can have much effect outside lab experiments because its absorption spectra are swamped by water vapour which is present at 20,000 times the concentration.

    Speaking of water vapour, burning hydrogen will produce more of it than methane so homes will need better ventilation.

    Like

  11. Mike Hig, welcome, and thanks for the comment.

    I’ve been lurking at BH and observed the hydrogen discussion there, but I’m a bit busy here these days. 🙂

    Like

  12. Mark/Mike: Prof Jacobson has also been frequently on the sceptics’ radar. His most famous achievement is raising science to a new gold standard by suing someone who disagreed with him. After that hot flush he pulled the suit but was ordered to pay costs for his trouble:
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/07/11/stanford-prof-ordered-to-pay-legal-fees-after-dropping-10-million-defamation-case-against-another-scientist/

    The paper in question showed that the US could live without hydrocarbons. The below quote was from the National Review in earlier WUWT coverage:

    Rather than accept any of the criticisms Clack and his nearly two dozen co-authors made, Jacobson responded with tirades on Twitter, EcoWatch, and elsewhere. He claimed that his work doesn’t contain a single error, that all of his critics are whores for hydrocarbons, and that, well, dammit, he’s right. Never mind that Jacobson overstated the amount of available hydropower in the U.S. by roughly a factor of ten and claimed that in just three decades or so, we won’t need any gasoline, diesel, or jet fuel because we will all be flying to Vegas in hydrogen-powered 737s.

    One would suspect that Jacobson would be likely to favour electrolysis over steam reforming.

    Like

  13. Politico is repeating the story, it seems:

    “EU’s clean hydrogen plan raises dirty doubts
    Methane leaks from non-renewable hydrogen could pollute more than coal and natural gas.”

    https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-clean-hydrogen-plan-doubts/

    “The EU’s hopes of powering its green energy transformation with clean-burning hydrogen could potentially speed up global warming instead, scientists warn.

    A study published Thursday shows that making hydrogen out of natural gas — even when capturing some of the escaping CO2 emissions to make what’s known as “blue hydrogen” — is more polluting than simply burning natural gas directly.

    “The use of blue hydrogen appears difficult to justify on climate grounds,” the study said.

    That’s a problem for the EU. Its Hydrogen Strategy foresees ramping up production of blue hydrogen over the next decade to displace natural gas and also to use in hard-to-electrify sectors like heavy transport and steel and cement production. It’s also banking on cleaner but more expensive green hydrogen, made from water and renewable electricity, eventually becoming available in larger quantities.

    The vast majority of hydrogen produced in the EU is so-called grey hydrogen, made by splitting natural gas into hydrogen and carbon dioxide and allowing the CO2 to escape into the atmosphere. It’s relatively cheap, but has a massive carbon footprint.

    Blue hydrogen is a bit cleaner, but the process requires a great deal of energy, and that’s supplied by burning natural gas, according to Robert Horwath, professor of ecology and environmental biology at Cornell University and co-author of the study published in Energy Science & Engineering.

    Even more energy has to be used to capture the CO2 and “that electricity’s also coming from burning more natural gas without capturing the emissions,” he said….”.

    Like

  14. “Oil firms made ‘false claims’ on blue hydrogen costs, says ex-lobby boss
    Chris Jackson believes companies promoted ‘unsustainable’ fossil gas projects to access billions in taxpayer subsidies”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/aug/20/oil-firms-made-false-claims-on-blue-hydrogen-costs-says-ex-lobby-boss

    “Oil companies have used false claims over the cost of producing fossil fuel hydrogen to win over the Treasury and access billions in taxpayer subsidies, according to the outgoing hydrogen lobby boss.

    Chris Jackson quit as the chair of a leading hydrogen industry association earlier this week ahead of a government strategy paper featuring support for “blue hydrogen”, which is derived from fossil gas and produces carbon emissions.

    He told the Guardian he could no longer lead an industry association that includes oil companies backing blue hydrogen projects, because the schemes are “not sustainable” and “make no sense at all”.”

    Sound familiar?

    “The UK’s future blue hydrogen projects include plans for BP to develop a hydrogen plant in Teesside, and Norwegian state oil company Equinor and SSE to build the world’s biggest hydrogen production plant with carbon capture and storage technology near Hull.”

    That would be SSE that receives subsidies to build wind turbines all over Scotland?

    Like

  15. And Equinor, remember, is the co-owner of Dudgeon, and is familiar with the right end of the money hose. BP is investing in offshore wind. The aim of these companies is to become renewables companies because they believe that our gov’t and others will either ban oil or tax it to death, but that the flow of money for renewables will never be interrupted.

    The bottom line is that however the hydrogen is made, it will have to be subsidised heavily. (Alternatively, it might be possible to tax natural gas to death or simply ban it, but first the boiler switch would have to be made.)

    Hydrogen, being worse in every way than natural gas, is never going to displace it without a large helping hand.

    Like

  16. https://www.rechargenews.com/energy-transition/uk-backs-hydrogen-cfds-to-repeat-offshore-wind-success-story/2-1-1052884

    “UK backs hydrogen CfDs to repeat offshore wind success story”

    The government is proposing using a replica of the CfD scheme that has helped build-out capacity of offshore wind in the UK to more than 10GW while also lowering its cost over the past decade by offering guaranteed ‘strike prices’ for power produced.

    The government said the publication of the document, three months ahead of the UN’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, sent out a “strong signal globally” that the UK is to committed to building a thriving hydrogen economy that could deliver hundreds of thousands of green jobs.

    Happened on this while looking for something else. Presumably new green farm machinery could deliver hundreds of thousands of green jobs too. (The return of oversized horses.) The obvious point is that the number of jobs only goes up if a more efficient process is displaced, via gov’t mandate, by a less efficient one.

    The success story referred to is the success of slyly sucking money out of the pockets of people who can’t afford it into the pockets of people who are already rolling in it and with whom in many cases we have very little in common w.r.t. freedom, democracy, old fashioned things like that.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. “Carbon from UK’s blue hydrogen bid still to equal 1m petrol cars
    Government’s plan to use ‘blue’ fossil-fuel hydrogen alongside green version raises concern, say campaigners”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/aug/22/uk-switch-to-hydrogen-power-must-not-rely-on-fossil-fuels-warn-campaigners

    “Opting for hydrogen that is made using fossil fuels rather than renewable electricity could create up to 8m tonnes of carbon emissions every year by 2050, according to an analysis of government data.

    The figures show that the use of fossil-fuel hydrogen, or “blue hydrogen”, would create the same carbon emissions each year that more than a million petrol cars would produce, compared with using zero-carbon “green hydrogen”.

    Ministers plan to use both blue and green hydrogen to replace fossil gas in factories, refineries and heating, but new figures show that an over-reliance on blue hydrogen would still lead to millions of tonnes of carbon emissions entering the atmosphere every year.

    Blue hydrogen is extracted from fossil gas in a process that requires carbon capture technology to trap emissions – but this method still fails to capture between 5% and 15% of the CO2. Carbon emissions are also released when the fossil gas is extracted from oil and gas fields.

    Using blue hydrogen exclusively to replace fossil gas would result in between 6m and 8m tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year from the late 2020s, or the equivalent of running an average of 1.5m more fossil-fuel cars on the road every year by 2050.”

    Like

  18. “Hydrogen: UK government sees future in low-carbon fuel – but what’s the reality?”

    https://theconversation.com/hydrogen-uk-government-sees-future-in-low-carbon-fuel-but-whats-the-reality-166244

    “…Then there are influential groups lobbying parliament on behalf of hydrogen, such as the Hydrogen Taskforce, which represents members with a vested interest in the fuel who are set to receive a significant amount of business from this strategy. But is what is good for business good for UK consumers and taxpayers?

    The UK government has failed to provide comparative evidence that hydrogen is a preferred net-zero route in many applications. Only by comparing the paths to net zero in a way that considers the complete life cycle of hydrogen fuel, quantifying the impacts on people, profit and the environment can the case for hydrogen be made accurately. That evidence is lacking in this strategy.”

    Like

  19. In Pandora’s Box, the name Lord Callanan cropped up. Here he is again:

    “Hydrogen boiler revolution ‘pretty much impossible’, says minister
    Lord Martin Callanan cast doubt on the feasibility of production demands and overall cost”

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/10/05/hydrogen-boiler-revolution-pretty-much-impossible-says-minister/

    “Using hydrogen to replace natural gas as a green alternative in boilers is “pretty much impossible”, a minister has admitted, despite the Government planning major trials over the coming decade….

    …Describing himself as a “little bit of a hydrogen sceptic”, Lord Callanan said: “If I’m being honest the idea that we could produce enough hydrogen at reasonable cost to displace mains gas is pretty much impossible.

    “Technology might get us there, there might be some scientific breakthrough. But it’s more likely that it will end up being used by trains and HGVs, for some industrial processes, rather than for home heating.
    “But the official policy is we will see how the market develops and take a view in the mid-part of this decade as to whether it will play a significant role in the home.”…

    ,,,Lord Callanan acknowledged that moving to green heating in homes is “one of the biggest political challenges that we are faced with as a government.”

    “It doesn’t get that much publicity, but it’s something that will cost us an enormous amount of money over the next 15 to 20 years.”

    Lord Callanan said plans to raise the cost of gas would be “nigh on impossible politically” amid the current energy price crunch.

    But he said it would be necessary to rebalance social and green levies, which are currently around 20 per cent of electricity bills and mean running a heat pump is more expensive than running a gas boiler.

    “To persuade people to make the change, we have to provide them with the right incentives. But it’s a difficult policy challenge. Thankfully one for the Treasury and not me,” he said.

    The Government is expected to announce a consultation on rebalancing the levies, with possible options being to move them onto gas or into general taxation.”

    Like

  20. Cross-pasting a comment on NALOPKT:
    From a report by Jacobs ( Hydrogen supply chain eveidence base; Nov 2018) on the various aspects of adopting hydrogen:

    “Efficiency:The expectation is that H 2 boilers can achieve high efficiencies, similar to those of current natural gas boilers. This would only be confirmed during the required research and development phase of commercialisation.

    Higher burning temperature can lead to NOx formation – performance may be influenced by the NOx specification (low NOx requirements could push down efficiency and may require an exhaust catalyst).

    Lifetime and maintenance: H 2 boilers are expected to achieve 10 15 year target lifetimes (i.e. similar to current natural gas boilers)
    There may be some additional service requirements, hence O&M costs are expected to be higher. Catalytic components (if required) would need to be replaced within 15 year lifetime
    Regular servicing of the appliance may need to be mandatory if components such as exhaust catalysts are needed to ensure performance of the unit is maintained.”

    So, without mitigation via exhaust catalysts, hydrogen boilers will add to NOx pollution. Fitting catalysts will increase costs and maintenance requirements, and efficiency will be lower.
    The report also includes some fairly hair-raising numbers on costs.
    It really is not a happy story.

    Like

  21. “JCB signs green hydrogen deal worth billions”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-59107805

    “Construction equipment maker JCB has signed a deal to buy billions of pounds of green hydrogen, defined as hydrogen produced using renewable energy.

    The deal means JCB will take 10% of the green hydrogen made by mining company Fortescue Future Industries (FFI).

    Australian company FFI said the deal was a “first-of-a-kind partnership” that would see it become the UK’s largest supplier of the clean fuel.

    Production, mostly done outside the UK, is expected to begin early next year.

    JCB and a firm called Ryze Hydrogen would then distribute it in the UK.”

    Quite apart from all the other issues, it’s not exactly green if production is mostly to be outside the UK, for a gas which is to be distributed within the UK.

    Like

  22. “Whitelee green hydrogen facility receives £9.4m investment”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-59365823

    “A wind farm is to become home to a state-of-the-art hydrogen storage facility which could eventually produce enough clean energy to help power the next generation of public transport.

    The UK government has awarded the project, based at Whitelee Windfarm in East Renfrewshire, £9.4m.

    It said the project would help Glasgow reach net zero by 2030.

    The cash will go towards developing the country’s largest electrolyser, which converts water in to hydrogen.

    The hydrogen produced can be easily stored and transported to where it is needed.

    Splitting water and capturing the released hydrogen requires energy, and the project will use electricity produced from the wind farm, the largest onshore farm in the UK, to create the gas…

    …The partnership, made up of ScottishPower, ITM Power and BOC, is currently going through the planning process for the new facility and aims to have green hydrogen available to the commercial market by 2023….”

    Scottish Power, of course, isn’t Scottish at all, but is owned by Spanish company, Iberdrola. BOC is now part of the Linde Group, which is German. So much of this “£9.4M investment” (why doesn’t the BBC headline call it what it is – a taxpayer-funded subsidy?) will probably leach away abroad.

    Like

  23. “Will hydrogen energy help decarbonise the economy?”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-59384415

    More interesting and thoughtful than usual from the BBC, IMO, and worth a read. It concludes with this:

    “Under the SGN/Wood plan, the rest of Scotland’s gas network could be converted to hydrogen only 15 years later than the Aberdeen target, in 2045. Wood throws in an extended pipeline network to gather in carbon dioxide from around the country for treatment and storage.

    The total cost, at today’s prices: £11.6bn. Of that more than £3.4bn is in continued and expanded blue hydrogen generation, and £2.6bn would be required for the green variety, most of that for electrolysis.

    Some £1.1bn would prepare the SGN pipeline network for hydrogen, while £500m would buy a gathering network for carbon.

    A further £3.3bn would pay for conversion of appliances in homes and business premises.

    No-one said it was going to be cheap. But it could bring quality jobs and business opportunities.

    It’s just one set of ideas, while the alternative – of doing nothing to decarbonise energy use across the economy – isn’t a long-term, cheap solution either.”

    Like

  24. “Climate change: Is ‘blue hydrogen’ Japan’s answer to coal?”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-59525480

    “It’s a glorious autumn afternoon and I’m standing on a hillside looking out over Tokyo Bay. Beside me is Takao Saiki, a usually mild-mannered gentleman in his 70s.

    But today Saiki-San is angry.

    “It’s a total joke,” he says, in perfect English. “Just ridiculous!”

    The cause of his distress is a giant construction site blocking our view across the bay – a 1.3-gigawatt coal-fired power station in the making.

    “I don’t understand why we still have to burn coal to generate electricity,” says Saiki-San’s friend, Rikuro Suzuki. “This plant alone will emit more than seven million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year!”

    Suzuki-San’s point is a good one. Shouldn’t Japan be cutting its coal consumption, not increasing it, at a time of great concern about coal’s impact on the climate?

    So why the coal? The answer is the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

    In 2010 about one third of Japan’s electricity came from nuclear power, and there were plans to build a lot more. But then the 2011 disaster hit, and all Japan’s nuclear power plants were shut down. Ten years later most remain closed – and there is a lot of resistance to restarting them.

    In their place Japan’s gas-fired power stations have been doing a lot of overtime. But, as Britain has found out recently, natural gas is expensive.So, the Japanese government decided to build 22 new coal-fired power stations, to run on cheap coal imported from Australia. Economically it made sense. Environmentally, not so much. Japan is now under intense pressure to stop using coal.

    Instead of closing the old coal plants and switching to renewables, Japan’s answer is to switch to burning hydrogen or ammonia….

    …This brings us to the final, and most important question. Where is the hydrogen to power Japan zero carbon society going to come from?

    The answer is “blue hydrogen”.

    Make hydrogen from water using renewable energy and you get “green hydrogen”. The problem is green hydrogen is really expensive.

    Instead, today most hydrogen is made from natural gas, or even coal. That is cheap but it produces lots of greenhouse gases. However, if you capture those greenhouse gases and bury them in the ground, you are allowed to call it “blue hydrogen”.

    This is exactly what Japan says it is going to do.

    Earlier this year, Japan and Australia opened a joint project in the state of Victoria to turn a type of coal called lignite, or brown coal, into hydrogen. The hydrogen is then liquified to minus 253C, then piped into a specially built ship which carries it to Japan.

    What happens to the greenhouse gases produced at the site? Right now, they go straight up into the atmosphere. But Japan and Australia are promising that, at some point in the future, they will begin capturing the greenhouse gas produced at the Latrobe Valley site and inject it into the sea floor off the coast.

    Climate change campaigners are horrified by this plan. They say the technology to capture and store greenhouse gases is unproven and it will lock Japan into digging up vast quantities of brown coal for decades to come….”.

    A long article, probably worth a read. But with the usual caveats when reading anything about climate change on the BBC. What the BBC omits to mention is that ” Takao Saiki, a usually mild-mannered gentleman in his 70s” is a climate change, anti-coal campaigner:

    Click to access Statement-of-opinion-Takao-Saiki.pdf

    Where’s the BBC Climate Misinformation Correspondents when you need them?

    Like

  25. Dr John Constable at the House of Lords’ industry and regulators committee on 14 September 2021. Dr John Constable directs the UK information charity, Renewable Energy Foundation: 

    I have written extensively on hydrogen, and I have what I think is a rational approach to it. Hydrogen is an energy carrier. It is an interesting energy carrier, but it is a difficult gas. It is both fugitive and quite dangerous to handle. However, it is genuinely interesting and could allow us to decarbonise some very difficult areas such as transport, particularly international shipping, as ammonia.

    The key thing is to make the production of hydrogen cheap. That is important for the consumer of the hydrogen but also because making it safe to use in society will not be a cheap activity in itself. It is going to be expensive to make it safe, so the input costs have to be very low. Therefore, the most promising route for hydrogen production is high-temperature nuclear. This was sketched in the 1970s by the physicist and economist Marchetti, known for Marchetti cycles in energy, and was offered to the Japanese. The Japanese government accepted it and are still working on it. It exists within the Japanese machinery as the new Sunshine project.

    It is promising. Will it work? We do not know. It is crucial that the input energy cost is low. Electrolysis from existing nuclear power stations will produce high-cost hydrogen. Electrolysis from renewable energy will produce very high-cost hydrogen. High-temperature nuclear reactors decomposing water thermally, probably in the presence of a catalyst, would in principle produce low-cost hydrogen and might therefore work. If the hydrogen could be low-cost, it would be possible to afford all the safety measures that would be necessary to render it utilisable both in vehicles and in the home. I am open-minded about it and guardedly optimistic.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. I did watch all of that video of John Constable yesterday. Very impressive grasp of the detail, clear articulation of the problems with all of energy policy and stoic patience with some of the ‘slower’ committee members.

    Like

  27. On 27th April 2022, there will be another WEET conference, this one headed “Growing the hydrogen economy in the UK –
    Policy and market development, commercialisation and scaling up, and readying infrastructure”.

    Speakers include:

    Antony Green, Hydrogen Director, Gas Transmission, National Grid
    James Richardson, Chief Economist, National Infrastructure Commission
    Dr Jenifer Baxter, Protium Green;
    Dr Sarah Deasley, Frontier Economics;
    Jayne Harrold, PWC;
    Dr Robert Howarth, Cornell University;
    Katharine Palmer, Shipping Lead, High level Climate Champion, UNFCCC;
    Professor Nilay Shah, Imperial College London;
    Chris Train, Green Gas Champion, Energy Networks Association;
    Dr Tiancun Xiao, University of Oxford

    We are told:

    “The conference will also be an opportunity to discuss a number of key measures due to be released in early 2022 to support deployment and investment including a Hydrogen Sector Development Action Plan; the Net Zero Hydrogen Fund; a UK standard for low carbon hydrogen; and the Low Carbon Hydrogen Supply 2 competition.

    Overall, the agenda is structured to bring out the latest thinking on:
    the Hydrogen Strategy – support for R&D and commercialisation, integration into the energy mix, role in decarbonisation plans, and achieving the sector’s economic potential
    implementation – developing production, distribution, storage and use, plus business models, strategic planning, scaling up, and addressing the fossil fuels cost gap
    market and regulatory frameworks – as well as relationships with the wider energy system
    partnerships and growth – collaboration to support innovation, and development of international hydrogen markets and export opportunities”.

    We are also told that relevant developments include:

    UK Hydrogen Strategy – with government ambitions for hydrogen as part of the policy drive to net-zero, rollout ambitions, hydrogen economy development, global positioning, and tracking progress
    consultation and support – Consultation on a UK Low Carbon Hydrogen Standard; Designing the Net Zero Hydrogen Fund – Consultation; and Low Carbon Hydrogen Supply 2 Competition
    wider policy – the Sixth Carbon Budget; Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener and The Energy White Paper with specific attention paid to hydrogen, including targets, investment and implemenation
    the UK in international partnerships – including The Clean Hydrogen Mission; Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM); and International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy (IPHE)
    · further developments:
    Glasgow to be home to first-of-a-kind hydrogen storage project – under the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio
    Government-backed liquid hydrogen plane paves way for zero emission flight – The Aerospace Technology Institute FlyZero project

    Like

  28. “Dorset’s green hydrogen project secures £6.5m funding”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-dorset-60066866

    “A hydrogen fuel project is set to be up and running in Dorset later this year after securing£6.5m of funding.

    Dorset Green H2 is being built at White’s Pitt – a former landfill site off Magna Road in Poole.

    Electricity from solar panels and existing landfill gases will be fed into an electrolyser with water to make green hydrogen – a zero-emission fuel.

    It will be the first of its kind in the region, according to its operator Canford Renewable Energy.

    The hydrogen fuel will be compressed, stored, and sold for use as a carbon-free fuel.

    It is expected to produce enough hydrogen each year to fuel the equivalent of 900,000 miles travelled by lorries.

    It is being funded with £3m from Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)’s Growing Places Fund loan scheme, a £1.5m grant from Low Carbon Dorset, along with a £1.7m bank loan and equity funding from Canford Renewable Energy.”

    Value for money, or a green pie-in-the-sky DeLorean?

    Like

  29. “Many people still in the dark over gas boilers, say MPs”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-60235709

    “Many people in Britain remain unprepared for the revolution in home heating that the country faces in the next ten to 15 years, a report from MPs has said.

    MPs on the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee said the government’s approach to decarbonising home heating lacked clear direction.

    Current policies are also not on the scale required, they said.

    However, the report rejected hydrogen as a solution for greener home heating.”

    So, no hydrogen after all? Does that mean we’re wasting a load of money on all the hydrogen experimentation? On top of this:

    “…”In total, we’re investing £6.6bn this parliament to decarbonise our buildings, saving people money on their bills and slashing pollution in the process,” a BEIS spokesperson said….

    …BEIS said the government’s existing plans would incentivise people to install low-carbon heating systems “in a simple, fair and cheap way” and included £5,000 grants for heat pumps…”.

    But back to hydrogen:

    “However, the cross-party committee poured cold water on suggestions that hydrogen could play a major role in home heating.

    Mr Jones told BBC News: “We were not convinced that hydrogen was proven to be a front-running, viable technology.

    “I understand why trades unions are enthusiastic about hydrogen because it preserves jobs – but many workers will need to transition to heat pumps.

    Concerns around hydrogen included “supply, distribution, changes to the network, changes in the home with safety work around pipes and valves – so many reasons we’re not convinced,” he said.

    Mr Jones’ comments were attacked by Mike Foster from the trade body Energy and Utilities Alliance.

    “Comments in the report [about hydrogen] are factually untrue and others deliberately misinterpret government plans,” Mr Foster said.

    Another industry lobby group, Electrify Heat, said it was clear that heat pumps would provide heat for most homes and that hydrogen would have a very small role.”

    Dear, oh dear, oh dear. Rushing down the net zero road, but with no idea where it is going. Except that it’s going to cost the taxpayer a lot of money, and some people are making a lot of money out of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. “Aberdeen’s hydrogen buses taken off the road due to technical issue”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-60266199

    “Aberdeen’s fleet of hydrogen buses has been taken off the road due to a “technical issue”.

    The buses were introduced in January last year as part of a project aimed at zero emissions and low noise travel.

    First Bus said an issue had been identified with the 15 hydrogen buses and the vehicles had been taken off service until the technical issue could be “better understood”.

    Replacement buses are being brought in until it is resolved.”

    Diesel, presumably?

    Like

  31. “The neighbourhood leading a green energy revolution”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-60241966

    “An ambitious target of using hydrogen to partly power homes in the UK within three years has been set by the National Grid, the BBC has learned. On the east coast of Scotland, a small neighbourhood is playing a key role in this energy revolution.

    From next year, about 300 homes in Buckhaven, and Methil, in the area of Levenmouth, will be powered by green hydrogen gas in a project called H100. Customers will be offered free hydrogen-ready boilers and cookers in the scheme, which will initially last five and a half years.

    For the first time in its history, the National Grid (NG) plans to use something other than natural gas in its distribution network and start blending hydrogen with natural gas in the next three years.

    Yet, standing in the former Fife coal mining village of Buckhaven as a cold wind howls round buildings made of local grey stone, it’s hard to imagine this is the centre of a groundbreaking experiment working towards the NG’s ambitions.

    But as soon as you walk towards Buckhaven waterfront, it’s impossible to ignore. A 200-metre wind turbine, astonishing in its size and generating green energy, stands just off the coast, making a loud swoosh every couple of seconds, as the wind is picked up and thrown into the sea.

    The region has a long, proud history of energy production from its mines, but now the focus is on more environmentally friendly natural resources.

    The huge wind turbine will generate electricity to power an electrolyser, which turns water into hydrogen gas and oxygen. The hydrogen will then be stored in pressurised secure tanks, before being pumped into people’s homes.

    The £28m project, partly funded by the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (OFGEM), has the capability to be expanded to 1,000 homes from the same turbine.”

    Huge wind turbine – environmentally friendly. Hmmm.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. As for:

    “For the first time in its history, the National Grid (NG) plans to use something other than natural gas in its distribution network and start blending hydrogen with natural gas in the next three years.”

    What about this?

    “HyDeploy Winlaton”

    https://hydeploy.co.uk/winlaton/

    “Following the first HyDeploy project which successfully blended hydrogen into a natural gas network at Keele University, the second phase of HyDeploy at Winlaton, near Gateshead is now live.

    Winlaton, which comprises 668 homes, a church, primary school and several small businesses is playing an important part in the future of hydrogen use, by being the first community to receive a hydrogen blend via a first public network.

    Blending started in August 2021 and will last around 10 months, with up to 20% hydrogen supplied in the gas supply.”

    Like

  33. “Aberdeen’s hydrogen buses returning to service after technical issue”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-61161763

    “Aberdeen’s fleet of hydrogen buses is gradually returning to service after being taken off the road more than two months ago due to a “technical issue”.

    First Bus said in February that an issue had been identified with the 15 buses and the vehicles had been taken off service until the problem could be better understood.

    Replacement buses were instead brought in.

    First said two had now returned to service and others would follow.

    The buses were introduced in January last year as part of a project aimed at zero emissions and low-noise travel.

    First said in a statement: “We are pleased to confirm two of our zero-emissions hydrogen buses have returned to service in Aberdeen.

    “It is expected the number of hydrogen buses in service will continue to increase gradually over the coming weeks as we return our fleet to its full complement.””

    That’s going well, then! Bear in mind the cost:

    “The green and white-liveried buses, built by the Wrightbus company in Northern Ireland, cost £500,000 ($658,000, 555,000 euros) each.

    They complement Aberdeen’s existing fleet of hydrogen- and electric-powered council vans and road sweepers, said Bell.

    The city hopes the £8.3-million project, part-funded by the Scottish Government and the European Union, will help to develop a hydrogen industry in the region as demand grows.”

    https://techxplore.com/news/2020-11-aberdeen-trials-hydrogen-buses.html

    Like

  34. “Green air travel possible – Cranfield University professor”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-61524740

    “Airports can be green and air travel could be cheaper eventually, but first a high level of investment is needed, a scientist has told the BBC.

    Prof Pericles Pilidis, of Cranfield University in Bedfordshire, said new hydrogen-powered airliners could be a reality within 10 years.

    He claimed expanding airports could also be greener in the long term….

    …Prof Pilidis, head of Cranfield’s Power and Propulsion Department, said zero-carbon hydrogen-powered aircraft would stop air travel damaging the environment….

    …”There is going to be a high transition cost – but in the longer term green aviation could be cheaper than the air travel we have at the moment.”…”

    High transition costs, eh? Looks like high costs all round. For all of it. All of the net zero stuff.

    Like

  35. From the BBC’s rolling coverage of the war in Ukraine, at 7.13 today:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/world-europe-61546571

    “Could hydrogen ease Germany’s reliance on Russian gas?

    “The war in Ukraine has upended Germany’s energy policy.

    The nation currently buys around 25% of its oil and 40% of its gas from Russia, contributing billions of euros a year to Moscow’s finances.

    Germany is moving “as fast as possible” to end that relationship, but it will take time, the country’s finance minister recently said.

    To help achieve that goal, Veronika Grimm – an economics professor at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg – wants Germany to “ramp up” its use of hydrogen.

    Hydrogen can store vast amounts of energy, replace natural gas in industrial processes, and power fuel cells in trucks, trains, ships or planes that emit nothing but water vapour.

    Ms Grimm’s enthusiasm is gaining traction, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), an energy research group, dozens of countries have published national hydrogen strategies, or are about to.

    Despite this flurry of interest, it’s not clear yet that the large-scale use of hydrogen can be made viable.”

    Link then provided to a bigger article:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-61406077

    It includes this:

    “Green hydrogen is produced by using electricity from renewable power to split water into hydrogen and oxygen molecules using an electrolyser. But those machines and the electricity to run them remain costly.

    These costs means that, at the moment, such emission-free hydrogen makes up only 0.03% of global hydrogen production, according to the IEA.”

    Like

  36. “Essex firm’s hydrogen lorry on show in Stoneleigh”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-coventry-warwickshire-61996738

    “A lorry that can run off hydrogen has been unveiled to the public.

    Tevva, the maker in Tilbury, Essex, says it is the first hydrogen fuel cell-supported truck to be designed, built and mass produced in the UK.

    The company adds the vehicle has a range of up to 310 miles (500 km) via the tech, with hydrogen tanks able to be refilled in 10 minutes.

    It says it wants to help the transport industry adapt to a “post-fossil fuel future”.

    To that end, it developed a fuel cell to top up electric battery-powered trucks, giving them a longer range while reducing the size of the electric battery needed.

    The company – which has displayed the vehicle at the Road Transport Expo in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire – said hydrogen had been used safely in buses and other vehicles in 20 countries over a number of years.”

    As for “up to 310 miles”, Tevva’s own website says this:

    “Range on ANY EV is not constant, but 275kWh provides at least 450km range on the majority of days and at least 300km in the most adverse of conditions.”

    https://www.tevva.com/

    Still, if we have to go down this road, then it would be nice if some British jobs were created to replace all those that we have exported to China:

    “Tevva is a British electric and hydrogen truck pioneer. Tevva designs and manufactures zero-emission medium-duty trucks with a revolutionary combination of battery electric and hydrogen fuel-cell range extender technology.

    Tevva trucks are built to revitalize urban freight and logistics – optimising range, cost, driver experience, and environmental impact. Tevva trucks are already on the road and have accrued hundreds of thousands of miles in customer hands.

    Tevva London is based in Tilbury, Essex – we also have a base in the Midlands at Mira Technology Park.”

    Like

  37. Worryingly, the fixation with hydrogen isn’t going away. A further WEET conference with the title “Developing the hydrogen economy in Scotland” is to be held on 15th September.

    ” It will be a timely opportunity to assess next steps and what will be needed if The Scottish Government’s hydrogen ambitions, as established in the Hydrogen Policy Statement, are to be achieved – including for building 5GW installed hydrogen production capacity by 2030, and becoming Europe’s cheapest producer of hydrogen by 2045.

    Delegates will also discuss wider developments across the sector, including the:
    – draft Hydrogen Action Plan
    – UK Hydrogen Strategy
    – Hydrogen Business Model and Net Zero Hydrogen Fund: market engagement on electrolytic allocation consultation

    Bringing together stakeholders and policymakers, areas for discussion include:

    role of hydrogen – future energy mix – potential for Scotland’s hydrogen economy – commercialisation
    renewable, low-carbon power – infrastructure, policy and regulatory framework
    policy priorities – domestic and international collaboration – delivering a just transition – funding
    regional production hubs and renewable projects – Hydrogen Innovation Fund – innovation – efficiency – local government
    barriers to use – network preparation and integration into the energy system – research ecosystem – uptake in carbon-intensive sectors – maximising opportunities for growth “

    Like

  38. “ScottishPower to build £150m green hydrogen plant at Port of Felixstowe
    Exclusive: plant at Suffolk port is slated to produce 100megawatts of power from 2026”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/aug/08/scottishpower-build-150m-green-hydrogen-plant-port-felixstowe

    “ScottishPower is planning to build a £150m green hydrogen plant at the Port of Felixstowe to power trains, trucks and ships, the Guardian can reveal.

    The energy company has drawn up proposals for a 100megawatt plant at the Suffolk port which will provide enough fuel to power 1300 hydrogen trucks from 2026.

    The company, owned by €63bn Spanish utilities giant Iberdrola, said demand for the green fuel had stepped up since petrol and diesel prices began to soar last year, emboldening the firm to invest.

    It has submitted an application to the government’s Net Zero Hydrogen Fund, which provides state backing to develop low-carbon hydrogen projects for the next three years. ScottishPower estimated the whole project could cost between £100m and £150m.”

    Of course, the crucial piece of missing information is how much of the £150M cost will end up being paid for by the UK taxpayer. Here we are, according to the Guardian (and I am inclined to agree) in the midst of an energy crisis and a cost-of-living crisis, yet there never seems to be a shortage of taxpayer money to give away to foreign energy companies for projects with no guarantee of success and which (certainly in the short term, and probably in the long term) will do nothing to improve the UK’s energy security or costs.

    Like

  39. “Could hydrogen ease Germany’s reliance on Russian gas?”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-61406077

    “…Veronika Grimm is an economics professor at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, and currently one of Germany’s three special advisors to the federal government, called Economic Sages.

    “We need to diversify and decarbonise our energy sources faster than initially planned,” she says. To help achieve that goal, Ms Grimm wants the nation to “ramp-up” its use of hydrogen….”

    BUT:

    “…Despite this flurry of interest, it’s not clear yet that the large-scale use of hydrogen can be made viable.

    After all, there has been similar excitement before: in the 1970s, after two oil crises, and in the 1990s, when climate worries arose. But both petered out. So, is today’s hype any different?

    Sceptics warn that industry representatives, who globally dominate most hydrogen councils, are often biased in favour of hydrogen as it promises subsidies and keeps up demand for existing assets such as pipelines, tankers, turbines or boilers.

    They also argue that politicians like big, green-sounding plans for a more distant future rather than more difficult solutions.

    While small amounts of hydrogen are being extracted directly from the ground, most hydrogen is manufactured. That is largely done in two ways, each marked by a colour code.

    Green hydrogen is produced by using electricity from renewable power to split water into hydrogen and oxygen molecules using an electrolyser. But those machines and the electricity to run them remain costly.

    These costs means that, at the moment, such emission-free hydrogen makes up only 0.03% of global hydrogen production, according to the IEA….”.

    Like

  40. “Green hydrogen could counter energy crisis, says British firm
    ITM Power, which makes electrolyser machines, says splitting water using renewable energy has become more cost-effective than gas”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/sep/14/green-hydrogen-could-counter-energy-crisis-says-british-firm

    Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they? Especially given this context:

    …However, widening losses and the departure of the company’s longstanding chief executive, Graham Cooley, spooked investors, with shares in ITM falling 26% in early trading on Wednesday….
    …ITM, which is listed on London’s AIM exchange, posted revenues of £5.6m for 2022, up from £4.3m a year earlier. However, pre-tax losses widened from £27.6m to £46.7m. Last November, the company raised £250m to expand its manufacturing capacity. Cooley, who has led the company for 13 years, will remain in post until a successor is found….

    Like

  41. It’s nice to read a reasonably balanced appraisal in the Guardian:

    “‘World-first’ hydrogen project raises questions about its role in fuelling future homes
    Project to power 300 Scottish homes with ‘green hydrogen’ hit by delays, leaving some to question whether it is still worthwhile”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/sep/20/world-first-hydrogen-project-raises-questions-about-its-role-in-fuelling-future-homes

    On the northern shores of the Firth of Forth, royal blue waters lap against the weathered walls of Methil Docks. The quays were once a hub for coal exports but, since the late 1970s, haven’t dealt in the black stuff. Now, the town on Scotland’s east coast is flirting with another era in the energy industry – but it doesn’t appear to be going to plan.

    In what has been dubbed a “world-first project”, called H100, about 300 homes in Methil and neighbouring Buckhaven in Levenmouth were planned to be powered by “green hydrogen” gas from next year. Customers are offered free hydrogen-ready boilers and cookers under the scheme, scheduled to last at least four years.

    In the £32m project, National Grid will use something other than natural gas in its distribution network for the first time in what is claimed will be the world’s first 100% hydrogen network for consumers. H100 hopes to address the need for alternative energy sources to gas, not least as heating accounts for about 37% of all UK carbon emissions.

    However, the project has been hit by delays – including to the construction of a flagship “demonstration facility”. Some now openly question whether it is a worthwhile undertaking and whether hydrogen will play a significant part in fuelling the homes of the future….

    And quite a lot more – a fairly lengthy, but interesting, read, IMO.

    Like

  42. I’ll leave this here, though I could just as appropriately have commented about it against “The True Cost of Net Zero”:

    “Barrow factory to be powered by £40 million hydrogen scheme”

    https://cumbriacrack.com/2022/08/31/barrow-factory-to-be-powered-by-40-million-hydrogen-scheme/

    Taxpayer’s money, as always, is needed:

    A Barrow manufacturer will take advantage of a new £40 million hydrogen scheme.

    Kimberley-Clark, which makes products including Andrex, Kleenex and Huggies, has signed an agreement with Carlton Power, which is behind the Barrow Green Hydrogen scheme.

    The partnership will support the scheme’s development and reduce Kimberly-Clark’s reliance on natural gas as part of its global decarbonisation strategy.

    The Barrow Green Hydrogen scheme, the first of its kind in Cumbria, was announced earlier this month.

    Carlton Power is leading the development in partnership with a regional public/private sector consortium – Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, Barrow Borough Council, Cadent Gas and Electricity North-West….

    …It needs to secure financial support from the Government via its Hydrogen Investment Package, a multi-million-pound programme to encourage the growth of the hydrogen economy in the UK.

    Kimberly-Clark and Carlton Power will work together to obtain grant funding and operational financial support from the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. A submission will be made within the next three months….

    Like

  43. “Study contradicts Rees-Mogg over hydrogen for heating”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-63050910

    A new study has cast doubt on government claims that hydrogen could be used to heat homes and so cut greenhouse gas emissions.

    The report, published in the journal Joule, analysed more than 30 studies that looked at hydrogen and heating.

    All those studies found that hydrogen was much less efficient and more costly than alternatives like heat pumps

    Last week the Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg told the Commons that hydrogen was a “silver bullet”….

    …”Using hydrogen for heating may sound attractive at first glance,” says Jan Rosenow the report’s author and Europe Director at the energy think-tank the Regulatory Assistance Project.

    “However, all of the independent research on this topic comes to the same conclusion: heating with hydrogen is a lot less efficient and more expensive than alternatives such as heat pumps, district heating and solar thermal,” he said….

    Or, as he might have said, we could just leave our existing gas infrastructure in place – it would be a lot cheaper.

    …”In the UK, heating homes with green hydrogen would use approximately six times more renewable electricity than heat pumps,” says David Cebon of the Hydrogen Science Coalition and Professor of Mechanical Engineering in Cambridge University.

    “We do not have the time or resources to waste further investigating hydrogen’s role in home heating, especially when the well-known laws of thermodynamics determine the answer,” he said.

    The report said there was a risk that discussion of hydrogen for heating in the future led to a delay in the deployment of clean heating technologies that are already available today.

    Oh dear, well what about these BBC reports noted above?

    “Climate: WWF warns UK spending is lagging behind targets
    By Roger Harrabin
    BBC environment analyst”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-58170865

    …One of the government’s new policy initiatives is to promote hydrogen as a power source. A hydrogen strategy is due soon.

    Lobby groups are pressing for widespread hydrogen use in home heating….

    “The neighbourhood leading a green energy revolution”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-60241966

    An ambitious target of using hydrogen to partly power homes in the UK within three years has been set by the National Grid, the BBC has learned. On the east coast of Scotland, a small neighbourhood is playing a key role in this energy revolution.

    From next year, about 300 homes in Buckhaven, and Methil, in the area of Levenmouth, will be powered by green hydrogen gas in a project called H100. Customers will be offered free hydrogen-ready boilers and cookers in the scheme, which will initially last five and a half years….

    Oh dear, has an awful lot of public money been wasted (again)? And are those lobby groups (unnamed, I notice) wrong?

    Like

  44. The Guardian report is perhaps more detailed and interesting:

    “Hydrogen is unsuitable for home heating, review concludes
    Too many technical difficulties to overcome to make it a viable low-carbon heating fuel, say researchers”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/sep/27/hydrogen-is-unsuitable-for-home-heating-review-concludes

    Fiona Harvey Environment correspondent
    Tue 27 Sep 2022 16.00 BST
    Hydrogen is unsuitable for use in home heating, and likely to remain so, despite the hopes of the UK government and plumbing industry, a comprehensive review of scientific papers has concluded.

    Hydrogen lobbyists are out in force at the Labour party conference this week, sponsoring several events in Liverpool, and will be plentiful at the Conservative party conference that begins this weekend.

    They are hoping to persuade the UK government to push ahead with a mooted large-scale rollout of hydrogen for home heating, as a replacement for the gas used to heat the vast majority of British homes. Hydrogen proponents say it would avoid households having to replace gas boilers with heat pumps, the other main contender for low-carbon home heating.

    But researchers reviewed 32 studies of hydrogen and concluded that it was unlikely to play a major role in home heating, either as a full replacement for fossil fuel gas heating, or as a blend with natural gas.

    Jan Rosenow, Europe director at the Regulatory Assistance Project, an energy thinktank, and co-author of the study, said there were too many technical difficulties to overcome to make hydrogen a viable and economic low-carbon heating fuel.

    “Using hydrogen for heating may sound attractive at first glance. However, all of the independent research on this topic comes to the same conclusion: heating with hydrogen is a lot less efficient and more expensive than alternatives such as heat pumps, district heating and solar thermal,” he said.

    The study, published on Tuesday in the peer-review scientific journal Joule, is the third major blow in the past week to proponents of hydrogen for home heating. Earlier this week, a separate study by the analyst company Cornwall Insight concluded that hydrogen would be close to twice as expensive for home heating as using gas alone. Last week, the Guardian revealed problems with a hydrogen pilot project in Scotland.

    Rosenow told the Guardian hydrogen was not the alternative to heat pumps that lobbyists were claiming. “For policymakers, hydrogen for heating appears attractive because it seems easy: just replace fossil gas with hydrogen with no impact on households. The reality is that significant technical alterations are needed including the pipework in homes and that it will cost people a lot of money to keep warm.”

    Michael Liebreich, the founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance and chairman of Liebreich Associates, said: “This is a timely paper, showing that no serious analysis has hydrogen playing more than a marginal role in the future of space heating. We need to get Europe’s heating systems off natural gas, and we need to do it without further delay. It’s time to stop the fight: the judges are unanimous and the winners are district heating, heat pumps and electrification.”…

    Like

  45. “The great hydrogen gamble: hot air or net zero’s holy grail?
    An army of lobbyists is trying to persuade the government of the case for the combustible gas as a valuable weapon in the climate crisis, but questions remain”

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/oct/15/the-great-hydrogen-gamble-hot-air-or-net-zeros-holy-grail

    tanding in front of a lime green doubledecker hydrogen bus, Jo Bamford posed for a photo alongside transport secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan at the Conservative party conference’s “hydrogen zone” in Birmingham.

    A week earlier the JCB heir’s team was busy with photocalls featuring Labour heavyweights Keir Starmer, Rachel Reeves and Ed Miliband at the Labour conference in Liverpool.

    The political offensive was emblematic of the Bamford dynasty’s close political ties and the hydrogen industry’s eagerness to foster goodwill in Westminster. Companies including Cadent, National Grid, Centrica and boiler maker Worcester Bosch joined Bamford’s companies Ryze Hydrogen and Wrightbus in trying to convince Labour and Conservative MPs that hydrogen, the emissionless, highly combustible gas, can be a valuable weapon in the fight against the climate crisis….

    …Since Jo Bamford bought bankrupt London bus maker Wrightbus in 2019, the grandson of JCB founder Joseph Cyril Bamford has bet big on hydrogen. It has won several taxpayer-funded contracts for green transport, including an £11.2m deal to develop hydrogen fuel cell technology in Northern Ireland. Last year, he launched HyCap, a £1bn investment fund designed to back hydrogen specialists from producers to fuelling stations and transport firms.

    Bamford is far from alone in cultivating cordial relations with the government. There are at least 120 paid lobbyists for hydrogen operating in parliament at present, according to estimates from the MCS Charitable Foundation. In the EU, a vast network of fossil fuel companies, trade associations and other interested parties are putting the case for hydrogen.

    Their goals are disparate, from gaining support and subsidies for decarbonising energy-intensive industries to convincing authorities to switch to heating homes with hydrogen boilers. Hydrogen is seen as a transition fuel to a future powered by renewables such as wind and solar, allowing existing gas pipes to be used to pump the gas.

    But the march of the hydrogen lobby has thrown up many questions – how much will it all cost, are there more affordable ways of getting to net zero, and are vested interests such as the oil industry simply trying to stave off extinction?

    “Green” hydrogen is produced by splitting water using electricity from renewables, with minimal emissions. However, detractors argue that creating green hydrogen for home heating is six times less energy efficient than using heat pumps powered by electricity. Meanwhile, “blue” methods to produce the gas from fossil fuels require the carbon dioxide released to be captured and stored to prevent emissions. However, this relies on the success of the unproven carbon-capture and storage industry, which is in its infancy. …

    Like

  46. “detractors argue that creating green hydrogen for home heating is six times less energy efficient than using heat pumps powered by electricity”
    wonder where x6 statement comes from? anyway what about –

    “A heat pump works a bit like a refrigerator in reverse; instead of keeping your food cool, it’s warming your home using a refrigerant, which can evaporate into gas and condense into liquid.
    The source of heat – air outside or warmth from the ground – is blown or pumped over the heat exchange surface of the exterior part of the heat pump.
    This heat (although cold in comparison to a centrally-heated home) is warm enough to cause the special refrigerant liquid to evaporate and turn into a gas.
    This gas then moves through a compressor, which increases the pressure and so causes its temperature to rise.The gas (now heated) is passed over the internal heat exchange surface. This heat can then be either blown around the interior or transferred into a central heating or hot water system.
    The gas falls in temperature as the heat is transferred into the home and it subsequently returns to a liquid state.
    The cycle of reverse refrigeration repeats until your home or business reaches the required temperature setting on your thermostat.
    As the ground and air outside always contain some warmth, a heat pump can supply heat to a house even when it’s cold outside. For heat pumps to work at their best, it’s also important that good energy efficiency is installed in the home, such as effective insulation.”

    no thanks, winters in the UK can be very cold.

    Like

  47. “Go big or go green? The EU’s massively expanding hydrogen bet
    Brussels is pumping ever-increasing amounts of cash into hydrogen projects, and dragging its feet on climate standards for the gas.”

    https://www.politico.eu/article/go-big-or-go-green-the-eus-massively-expanding-hydrogen-bet/

    Two back-to-back crises have pushed Europe to bet increasing amounts of cash on a hydrogen revolution to meet industrial ambitions and reduce carbon emissions. But its promise to keep its economy growing while meeting 2050 climate targets looks increasingly tenuous.

    For the hydrogen industry, it’s a subsidy boom. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is promising a €3 billion investment vehicle, dubbed a hydrogen bank, to “help guarantee the purchase of hydrogen” by spurring demand using cash from the EU Innovation Fund.

    That comes on top of more than €13 billion in state aid approvals for national and cross-border projects so far: €5.4 billion for Hy2Tech, a cross-border initiative to perfect the technology; €5.2 billion for Hy2Use, aimed at applications in hard-to-decarbonize sectors such as steel, cement and glass; more than €2 billion for German projects in steel, chemicals and production abroad; €220 million for a Spanish plant, and €194 million for a Romanian plant.

    Two more cross-border state aid hydrogen schemes — dubbed Important Projects of Common European Interest — are also in the works, to focus on infrastructure and mobility, though amounts have yet to be released….

    …Before May 2020, there was no such thing as a standalone EU hydrogen strategy. Hydrogen was mentioned only as a complement to rolling out renewable energy and better power grid connections in the Commission’s Green Deal plans.

    Only when the coronavirus crisis threatened to derail those green dreams in early 2020, did the Commission move swiftly to prioritize hydrogen, according to Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, CEO of industry lobby Hydrogen Europe.

    “The crisis broke out, there was a pressure on policymakers to deliver right away, to mobilize the funds needed for a green recovery,” he recalled. “We were very, very fast in reacting to what the Commission needed … we came back to them in May with a concrete plan.”

    That industry road map called for 40 gigawatts (GW) of electrolytic capacity to be built across the EU by 2030, to use renewable electricity to jolt hydrogen out of water. A further 40 GW of production capacity would also be built abroad with the hydrogen then imported by the EU.

    Those plans had a €430 billion price tag over a decade….

    Like

  48. As the Tories imposed on us their third PM this year, what is the point of this activity today of all days?

    Like

  49. Still the WEET conferences keep coming. On 31st January 2023, there is to be a conference with the heading “Next steps for the UK hydrogen industry – Policy and regulation, business models, sector development, infrastructure and supply chain, and competitive positioning”

    Among other things it mentions is this (which I confess I previously knew nothing about):

    “Hydrogen Business Model and Net Zero Hydrogen Fund: Electrolytic Allocation Round 2022”

    So I took a look:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hydrogen-business-model-and-net-zero-hydrogen-fund-electrolytic-allocation-round-2022

    Guess what?

    Hydrogen will play a vital role in delivering the UK’s commitment to reach net zero by 2050.

    The UK is aiming to develop up to 10GW of low carbon hydrogen generation by 2030, subject to affordability and value for money (VfM), with the intention that at least half of this will be from electrolytic hydrogen, drawing on the scale up of UK offshore wind, other renewables, and new nuclear.

    The Energy Security Strategy set out our ambition to support up to 1GW of electrolytic hydrogen being in construction or operational by 2025. We aim to run yearly electrolytic allocation rounds for the Hydrogen Business Model (HBM) and move to price-competitive allocations by 2025 as soon as market conditions and legislation allow.

    This guidance details our proposed approach for the first joint Hydrogen Business Model and Net Zero Hydrogen Fund allocation round. We hope to support at least 250MW via the first allocation round, although we retain the right to allocate less if we do not see sufficient projects coming forward that meet our eligibility criteria and present VfM to government.

    For the 2022 HBM / NZHF Electrolytic Allocation Round, we propose that projects can apply for HBM revenue support only, or they can apply for joint HBM revenue support and CAPEX support through the Net Zero Hydrogen Fund (NZHF).

    Something else for “net zero” that sees the Government’s hand in the taxpayer’s pocket.

    Like

  50. “‘We’ve got no choice’: locals fear life as lab rats in UK hydrogen heating pilot
    In Whitby, just outside Ellesmere Port, residents wait to hear whether their village will be chosen”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/21/no-choice-hydrogen-heating-pilot-whitby-ellesmere-port-lab-rats

    On the site of an old leisure centre, a U-shaped trio of temporary offices sit alongside a neat lawn and fledgling shrubs. Named the “hydrogen experience centre”, this unassuming place is at the heart of a testy tussle that could have implications for how homes across the country are heated.

    The site, in the village of Whitby, just outside Ellesmere Port on the south bank of the Mersey, could become the UK’s first “hydrogen village”. It is being analysed, along with Redcar in the north-east, for potential conversion to 100% hydrogen heating, using the existing gas network and new appliances to update up to 2,000 properties…

    …A decision on whether to use hydrogen in the gas network at a wider scale is due in 2026. It will come a year after a ban on gas boilers in new homes comes into force in 2025, although uncertainty remains over the timeframe for the phase-out of natural gas in existing homes.

    However, there are concerns about the practicality of using hydrogen and the resulting cost to residents. Some people fear they are at risk of becoming unwilling “lab rats” for a technology that never takes off…

    …The proposal for Whitby to become a hydrogen test site – which is being presented by Cheshire West and Chester council, Cadent and British Gas – would give residents the choice of hydrogen or electric alternatives. The cost of new appliances and installation would be covered and the hydrogen would be subsidised to cost the same as natural gas for two years.

    But those who opt out of the hydrogen trial would not be able to stay on gas. Cadent has said it would consider subsidising their electricity – which is typically more expensive than using gas – but it is yet to commit to this. At the end of the pilot, if the decision is made to revert to natural gas, Cadent will cover the costs.

    “We’re being forced to take either hydrogen or an electric alternative if the pilot proceeds. There is no choice not to be part of it,” says John Roach, a retired housing manager who has been convening residents to debate the project.

    “My main concerns are financial: they’re subsidising the hydrogen for two years, but not beyond that. Local boiler engineers have told us they’re not going to bother getting trained up for a small area. So boiler and appliance maintenance and repair is going to be more expensive or hard to find. We’ll be trapped. If we’re the only game in town, how easy will it be to get a replacement?”

    Kate Grannell, another resident, says: “No one is questioning that we need to move away from natural gas but what many of us are saying is, experts know that hydrogen is not the long-term replacement for home heating. I will not be letting the emperor sell me his new clothes.”…

    Like

  51. “Rolls-Royce tests a jet engine running on hydrogen”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-63758937

    …This is the first time a modern aircraft engine has ever been run on hydrogen.

    Devoid of bodywork, with its intricate wiring and pipework exposed, it sits securely fastened to a sturdy test rig, while engineers cluster around an array of screens in the control room, a safe distance away.

    The tests are being carried out by Rolls-Royce, after development work in Derby and in partnership with the airline easyJet….

    Keep reading…

    …The advantage of hydrogen over batteries is that it provides much more power per kilogram. Batteries are simply too heavy to power larger planes.

    Yet hydrogen aviation remains a very long way off. The tests carried out so far have simply shown that a jet engine using hydrogen can be started up and run at low speed.

    But to go from there to building a wholly new engine, capable of powering a passenger aircraft safely will take a great deal more research – and significant investment.

    The aircraft themselves will also need to be redesigned. Hydrogen, even in liquid form, takes up about four times as much space as the kerosene required to fly the same distance.

    To make it into a liquid in the first place, it needs to be cooled to -253C. Then, before being burned, it must be turned back into a gas.

    “There’s a big change from the aircraft point of view,” says Alan Newby at Rolls-Royce.

    “They’re going to have to have a tank containing the hydrogen. You’ve got to keep it at this really, really cold temperature.

    “Then there’s the issue of how you feed it through to the engine as well.”

    The other key question is where the hydrogen itself comes from, because that will have a dramatic impact on the environmental benefits it can provide…

    Or we could just carry on using technology that has been proved to work?

    Like

  52. “Toyota in £11.3m government deal to develop hydrogen pickup trucks”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-derbyshire-63827102

    The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is investing £5.6m in the research scheme, based at Burnaston, with a further £5.7m coming through the Advance Propulsion Centre UK (APC) – an industry body which supports work to decarbonise transport.

    Who are APC? Their website is somewhat opaque in this regard:

    https://www.apcuk.co.uk/our-story/

    Formed in 2013 to help the automotive industry meet the challenges of decarbonisation identified by the Automotive Council.

    Our unique relationship with the automotive industry, and the political and academic landscape means collaboratively we drive the right commercial and strategic outcomes for the benefit of the UK. Our bridging position, between the industry and the innovation means we can influence up and down the ecosystem taking a science superpower to an industrial superpower.

    I can’t establish it for sure, but my money is on at least some of its funding coming from UK taxpayers.

    Meanwhile:

    “Glasgow firm awarded £30m to develop clean hydrogen HGV”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-63826874

    A Scottish-led project to develop a hydrogen fuel cell-powered heavy goods vehicle has been awarded £30m from a government and industry initiative.

    Glasgow-based HVS aims to develop a “clean and affordable” cab and tractor unit to replace equivalent diesel-powered vehicles currently used across the UK and Europe.

    The funding is coming from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) programme.

    It supports the development of low and zero-carbon automotive technology.

    HVS is among five companies taking a share of a £73m pot raised between the UK government and the automobile industry to develop clean transport technology.

    HVS will receive a £15m grant from the government, with a further £15m coming from industry.

    So APC (whoever they are) are busy with largesse just now (and/or there’s a PR-push on the go). I suppose I could have posted against the True Cost of Net Zero – there’s loads of money sloshing around in speculative “green” ventures. I wonder if we’ll ever be advised as to the outcome of the trials?

    Like

  53. “Fife hydrogen trial short on sign ups despite offering £1k ‘bribe’”

    https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/23167404.fife-hydrogen-trial-short-sign-ups-despite-offering-1k-bribe/

    A ‘world-first’ trial of hydrogen heating systems in Fife is yet to sign up its targeted number of local households despite offering residents a £1,000 ‘bribe’ to take part.

    SGN – which manages Scotland’s gas networks – is aiming to sign up 300 households in Levenmouth to take part in the H100 project. H100 is set to trial the use of hydrogen as a greener alternative to natural gas to heat homes in the area.

    One of the project’s main aims is to prove “customer acceptance, interest and appetite for hydrogen heat” ahead of a UK government decision on whether to invest in the technology in 2026.

    But SGN has revealed that since registration opened in November last year, “over 250 households” have signed up for the trial. The company is still short of its 300 household target despite offering residents £1,000, free hydrogen appliances and promising them that their heating bills will remain the same as with gas.

    Before the money was first offered to residents in August, the project had signed up just 50 homes, according to SGN….

    …Politicians and campaigners who are sceptical about the use of hydrogen for home heating are unconvinced.

    They argued that the current failure to meet the target showed Fife residents “share their scepticism” even when SGN is “bribing” them. …

    Like

  54. Speaking of throwing money at “green” schemes (that might not even work):

    “UK ministers float plan for ‘hydrogen-ready’ domestic boilers from 2026
    BEIS says strategy will reduce replacement costs but cautions there is no guarantee homes will ultimately run on the gas”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/dec/13/uk-ministers-floats-plan-for-hydrogen-ready-domestic-boilers-from-2026

    Ministers are considering requiring that all new domestic boilers be “hydrogen-ready” from 2026, as they announced £100m for nuclear and hydrogen projects.

    The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has launched a consultation on improving boiler standards, and has argued there is a strong case for introducing hydrogen-ready boilers in the UK from 2026.

    The government is examining options to replace polluting fossil fuel gas in Britain’s energy system and has offered grants for households to install heat pumps.

    A ban on gas boilers in new homes comes into force in 2025, although uncertainty remains over the timeframe for the phase-out of fossil gas in existing homes.

    Hydrogen-ready boilers are initially installed to burn fossil gas but then can be easily converted to operate on hydrogen by an engineer.

    The consultation document argues that the strategy will reduce “the costs associated with scrapping natural gas-only boilers before the end of their useful life”.

    “Mandating hydrogen-ready boilers will give industry the confidence to prepare supply chains to ensure the benefits of the potential transition are maximised,” officials said.

    However, they cautioned that there is no guarantee that boilers will ultimately be converted to run on hydrogen…

    Like

  55. “SSE begins work on hydrogen storage cavern on Yorkshire coast
    Exclusive: Renewable energy will be kept in cathedral-sized cave for freezing, windless conditions”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/dec/18/sse-begins-work-on-hydrogen-storage-cavern-on-yorkshire-coast

    The energy company SSE has begun work to develop an underground cavern in east Yorkshire to store hydrogen, aiming to stockpile the renewable source of power for when the freezing, windless conditions experienced in the last week occur in future.

    The project will produce hydrogen using renewable energy in a 35-megawatt electrolyser which will be stored in a cavern the size of St Paul’s Cathedral located a mile deep at an existing SSE site in Aldbrough on the Yorkshire coast.

    The hydrogen will be used to fire a turbine which can export power to the grid when demand is high.

    SSE hopes the “pathfinder” project, which could cost more than £100m, will demonstrate the technology before bigger projects in the area which would require larger pipelines and infrastructure. The company hopes to receive government money for the project through a fund set up to support low-carbon hydrogen projects.

    I’ll bet it does.

    Hydrogen is an expensive form of power generation as it requires large amounts of electricity to produce. However, it is seen as important in efforts to decarbonise heavy industries reliant on fossil fuels.

    This seems to be the reductio ad absurdum of net zero.

    Like

  56. “Hydrogen heating trial treats us like guinea pigs – residents”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-64028510

    “I wake up in the night thinking about it,” Maria Morgan says. “We’re guinea pigs.”

    Maria is on the front line of the UK’s efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change.

    Her house in Whitby in Ellesmere Port, north-west England, is one of 2,000 homes earmarked to have its supply of natural gas turned off.

    If the Whitby proposal is approved, pure hydrogen will flow through its pipes from 2025. Hydrogen’s advantage is that unlike natural gas, it doesn’t produce the climate-warming gas CO2 when burnt….

    …But is hydrogen safe? The government and gas companies say it can be, even though hydrogen is both more leaky and combustible than natural gas.

    It’s also not clear how green the village will actually be. Though hydrogen can be made from water using renewable energy, more than 99% of the world’s supply is currently made from fossil fuels, creating CO2 emissions.

    While some Whitby residents welcome the proposal, others feel they’re being forced to take part in a dangerous experiment…

    …If the trial goes ahead, there will be no more natural gas in the Whitby “hydrogen village” area. Residents will have to choose between converting their homes to hydrogen or going electric with a heat pump, with all the new appliances provided free of charge.

    Both the gas companies and the government say residents are worrying needlessly about safety. They say that though hydrogen is more explosive, additional measures will be in place making the risk similar to that of natural gas.

    That doesn’t wash with Professor Tom Baxter, an expert in hydrogen at the University of Strathclyde.

    “Would you buy a car from a salesman who said, ‘This car will crash more often but because of the safety features, we will be just as safe?” he asks. “You wouldn’t do it.”..

    …Hydrogen is certainly cleaner and greener at the instant it burns. But how the hydrogen is made is critical, given how little is currently produced using renewable energy.

    Using hydrogen made from renewable electricity to heat buildings is also much less efficient than simply using the electricity.

    Dr Jan Rosenow, an energy expert and director of European programmes at the Regulatory Assistance Project, told the BBC that heating a home with this “green” hydrogen uses five or six times more electricity (to produce the hydrogen) than using the same renewable electricity to drive a heat pump.

    “When you look at it from a sort of scientific perspective and a consumer perspective the evidence is pretty clear that it’s not a good idea,” he says….

    Like

  57. “The race to make diesel engines run on hydrogen”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-64248564

    But:

    …About 90% of fuel in the UNSW hybrid diesel engine is hydrogen but it must be applied in a carefully calibrated way.

    If the hydrogen is not introduced into the fuel mix at the right moment “it will create something that is explosive that will burn out the whole system,” Prof Kook explains….

    Like

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