The UK government is committed to increasing clean hydrogen production capacity to 10GW by 2030.
It’s essential we ramp up deployment of all the feasible options to support customers through the energy transition. When it comes to hydrogen, manufacturers like Baxi are investing in product development.
20% hydrogen blend
Phase 2 of the HyDeploy project is now live in Gateshead, supplying a blend of up to 20% hydrogen to over 600 existing homes. And with the 20% hydrogen infrastructure in place, this could be something we start to see sooner rather than later, with Energy Networks Association confirming that all five of Britain’s gas network companies are ready to start blending hydrogen from this year.
100% hydrogen boiler pilots
Pure hydrogen boiler pilots are also underway. 100% hydrogen boilers are designed to operate on hydrogen at the point of installation and produce no greenhouse gases at the point of use.
We have successfully demonstrated a 100% hydrogen boiler as part of the government’s Hy4Heat programme in Low Thornley near Gateshead and HyStreet at Spadeadam. The H100 project, the ‘hydrogen neighbourhood’, will initially see around 300 occupied homes supplied with hydrogen and fitted with hydrogen burning appliances.
A ‘hydrogen village’ pilot is also well into the planning stages. Ellesmere Port and Redcar have been shortlisted to deploy hydrogen to several thousand households, together with commercial premises. The proposed ‘hydrogen town’ will follow towards the end of the decade.
While to date, pilots have centred primarily around domestic use, we at Baxi now have the first-ever pure hydrogen boiler for commercial use ready for real-life trials.
The trials will demonstrate the different applications of the hydrogen boiler, when deployed at sites of local hydrogen generation and storage solutions, and/or in a multivalent set-up with a heat pump, in which hydrogen would cover the peak heat loads and reduce strain on the electricity grid.
A conversion kit for future hydrogen ready boilers to switch from natural gas to 100% hydrogen in-situ is also in development to allow commercial users to prepare themselves for the energy switch and offer more options to decarbonise heat.
For the first of the commercial pilots, we have joined forces with H2GO Power, a London-based company developing innovative hydrogen-based software and hardware solutions, and Northern Gas Networks.
‘Heat-in-a-box’ is a containerised first-of-a-kind solution that combines electrolysis, H2GO’s proprietary low-pressure hydrogen storage and our pure hydrogen commercial boiler. It will be hosted by NGN at their facilities in Low Thornley.
The end-to-end system will be powered by solar PV and supported by H2GO Power’s AI-enabled optimisation software platform, specifically designed for hydrogen systems. The pilot is funded in part through the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, which aims to accelerate the commercialisation of innovative clean energy technologies and processes through the 2020s and 2030s.
The pilot will demonstrate how the ‘heat-in-a-box’ system can supply heat for gas preheating in a safe and carbon-neutral manner, with potential to supply renewable heating for other operations. The system has been designed for maximised energy efficiency, minimal system maintenance and to secure carbon-free and safe operation.
Decentralised hydrogen generation, storage and usage for heating provides a solution to the challenge of delivering low carbon heating solutions in harder to heat buildings. It also helps maximise self-generated renewable electricity, in this instance from solar photovoltaics, making it a particularly interesting solution for multiple use cases. This includes off gas grid public sector buildings, hotels and leisure centres that currently rely on more carbon-intensive fuel for heat.
Projects like this that bring together multiple partners in the energy supply chain will be best placed to help inform future policy decisions and make real transformation happen.
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