This may look like an ordinary row of terraced houses in the UK, but these homes are playing a central role in a multi-million-dollar project researching and proving the safety of converting homes and gas networks to hydrogen.
Located at DNV GL’s Spadeadam, Northumberland Testing and Research facility, these three homes have been specifically designed and built for a project called ‘HyStreet’, conducting safety testing for both H21 and the UK Government’s Hy4Heat programme.
Boiler manufacturers Baxi Heating and Worcester Bosch recently installed hydrogen burning combi boilers into the houses, and they have been successfully providing heating and hot water.
Both Worcester Bosch and Baxi Heating have called on the UK Government to mandate only hydrogen-ready boilers on the market from 2025.
Worcester Bosch CEO Carl Arntzen said he hopes these encouraging initial tests will give key decision makers the confidence to deploy hydrogen gas as a fuel of the future.
“It is fantastic to see our prototype hydrogen boiler running successfully at this demonstration site,” Arntzen continued.
“The boiler has operated seamlessly in its first month of operation and continues to provide both heating and hot water.”
“It proves that hydrogen gas has great potential as a zero-carbon alternative to natural gas for heating and hot water in the UK and beyond.”
Karen Boswell, Managing Director of Baxi Heating, added, “This is an important step forward on our hydrogen journey and we are delighted to be able to demonstrate this innovative new technology in a real life setting in the UK.”
As around 85% of UK homes currently rely on natural gas for heating and hot water, repurposing the natural gas grid for use with hydrogen would mean a low disruption option for householders to decarbonise their heating without the need for extensive changes to their existing system.
“Seeing the boilers in situ at Spadeadam is an exciting step in the journey to realising our goal of a gas network transporting 100% hydrogen to customers,” Tim Harwood, Northern Gas Networks’ Project Director for H21, enthused.
“The hydrogen boiler looks and feels just like the natural gas version we all have today and is just as user-friendly, showing that a transition could cause minimal disruption to customers.”
Dan Allason, Head of Research and Innovation, at DNV GL’s Spadeadam Research and Testing, added, “Eight out of ten homes in the UK use a gas boiler to heat their homes and provide hot water and replacing all gas boilers with electric alternatives could be extremely costly.”
“Both of the boiler manufacturers have developed options with their hydrogen ready prototypes to assist the switch to a lower carbon alternative.”
“Having these fitted to the HyStreet demonstration project at Spadeadam gives gravitas to the proof of concept and public acceptability of appliances such as these. The boilers are one of the first important steps.”