Last year, the UK committed to a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. A bold target that requires new technology and industry changes across a number of sectors in order to become a reality.
For the heating and hot water industry, removing carbon is much more difficult than in other industries, largely because of the existing infrastructure, where the majority of UK homes use natural gas for heating.
Yet, with 15% of UK greenhouse gases coming from heat in our homes, it is quite clear that the UK will not meet its climate change targets without a change in home heating technology and fuel.
Replacing natural gas boilers with hydrogen gas may be the simplest solution to the nation’s heating problems. The main by-product of burning hydrogen gas is water, meaning that it is a carbon-free fuel source and could be a key method to help decarbonise heating and hot water in UK homes.
Over the last few years, Worcester Bosch has not only been advocating for hydrogen, but it has also developed a prototype boiler that can run on 100% hydrogen gas. The prototype has been designed to also run effectively on natural gas. This means that in the future if hydrogen gas becomes reality, those who have a ‘hydrogen-ready’ boiler can simply convert to hydrogen without the need for an entirely new heating system.
The Worcester prototype hydrogen boiler fits into the same footprint as a current natural gas boiler. Also, with a similar build to existing boilers, installers will already have most skills necessary to fit these products too.
Martyn Bridges, Director of Technical Communication and Product Management at Worcester Bosch said: “The development of hydrogen-fired boilers will mean millions of existing heating systems in our homes can be saved, rather than the entire system needing to be replaced.
“The beauty of hydrogen as an alternative to natural gas is that as well as water as a by-product, Worcester Bosch has developed a technical solution that will feel familiar to both homeowners and installers. The gas network is also in place, so homeowners won’t experience any major infrastructure disruption.
“With fully developed prototypes, various trials planned and many heating engineers and manufacturers in agreement that this could be a viable solution to decarbonise heating and hot water, we are hopeful that the future will be hydrogen.”