Hydrogen’s Future in Doubt?

Green energy, Hydrogen

Hydrogen’s Future in Doubt? In the latest move to shelve home heating, hydrogen’s future has been thrown into doubt The Guardian (10 May 2024) has reported revealing that a third pilot project to test the use of hydrogen heating in homes has been shelved by the UK government, indicating that households will rely on electricity for low-carbon heating in the coming decades.

The government said it would shelve plans to develop a “hydrogen town” to test whether hydrogen could help to heat homes at scale before taking a final decision after 2026. The decision comes after the government abandoned plans for two smaller “hydrogen village” trials in Redcar and at a village near Ellesmere Port.

This followed months of strong opposition from concerned residents for a technology they believed would never take off in the UK. The government said: “We plan to take a decision in 2026 on whether, and if so how, hydrogen will contribute to heating decarbonisation.” It will assess evidence from a pilot in Fife in Scotland, and similar schemes in Europe.

The Guardian reports that many experts, including the government’s infrastructure ‘tsars’, believe that the UK should focus its efforts on electric heating options, such as heat pumps, while hydrogen should be reserved for use in heavy industry, which is not always able to use electricity.

Juliet Phillips, the head of UK energy at E3G , an independent climate change think-tank, said the government’s decision had made clear “that all attention and investment should be focused on readily available clean heat solutions, like heat pumps and heat networks. She continued: “discussions on hydrogen for heating are an unhelpful distraction that muddy the waters on the future of how we heat our homes. Wide spread use of hydrogen for heating is widely understood to be an extremely expensive and inefficient way to meet net zero targets, which could exacerbate fuel poverty. The US and Europe are already installing heat pumps in their millions in response to the gas crisis that has already cost the UK over £100bn, and it looks like we might be starting to catch up.”