The UK’s first homes with appliances fuelled entirely by hydrogen have been officially opened by Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the UK Energy Minister.
The site, at Northern Gas Networks’ (NGN) innovation site in Low Thornley, Gateshead, sees two semi-detached homes that have been constructed by gas distributers Cadent and NGN with support from the Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
It is expected that this site will be utilised as an opportunity to provide the public an experience of a zero-emission gas-fuelled home of the future.
For the first time, the hydrogen house will give members of the public a glimpse into a hydrogen-fuelled future, enabling the interaction with a range of hydrogen-fed appliances including boilers, hobs, cookers, fires and a barbeque.
The appliances will be rotated so that different manufacturers will be able to showcase innovations and seek feedback from users.
Hydrogen boilers have already been developed by leading manufacturers Baxi Heating and Worcester Bosch with prototypes of fires, cookers and hobs also available from partners working with BEWIS on the Hy4Heat projects.
The hydrogen homes will be made available for various groups to visit from schools, colleges, and universities with the aim of educating children and young adults about the energy requirements of houses and how these will be met in the future.
The houses will also make educational visitors aware of potential careers in the emerging green economy and in science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) subjects.
The hydrogen house project is aligned with a larger scheme detailed in the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan which also includes establishing a hydrogen neighbourhood and develop plans for a potential hydrogen town before 2030.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan, UK Energy & Climate Change Minister, said, “Heating in buildings forms a significant part of the UK’s carbon footprint.
“In order to tackle climate change, changing the way people power their homes, from cooking, heating and running a bath, while making sure consumers pay a fair price, is critical so that the UK moves away from using fossil fuels and cuts its emissions.
“It was a privilege to officially open these new homes in Gateshead. While they look like any other house, this innovative project offers an opportunity for the public to experience hydrogen technology in a real-world setting, opening a window to what the future could hold as we build back greener.”
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Around 85% of UK households currently use natural gas (methane) supplied through a vast underground network of pipes, the gas grid, to power their homes.
But with residential heat and hot water use contributing 14% of UK carbon emissions – nearly 70 million tonnes a year, the country will not meet its current climate target of net zero emissions by 2050 without substantially reducing that number.
The argument raging in the energy world is whether to rip out these central heating systems, make the whole gas grid redundant and switch to electricity for heat, or seek ways to reduce the carbon from the gas network.
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