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Podcast / Audio

Hydrogen boilers: how much of a challenge?

image credit: Delta-EE Copyright 2021
Andy Bradley's picture
Director Delta-EE

Andy is a Director of Delta-EE, a specialist research and consultancy company in the 'new energy' sector. Since joining Delta-EE in 2010, Andy has helped define and develop Delta-EE’s portfolio...

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  • Mar 11, 2021
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Hydrogen could be flowing through gas pipes into homes in the future. If so, we’ll need boilers that can run on hydrogen to heat our homes, as well as hydrogen powered fuel cells or hydrogen powered thermally driven heat pumps. In this episode of Delta-EE's podcast, Talking New Energy, we explore the challenges in developing hydrogen boilers. Host Jon Slowe is joined by two of Europe’s leading boiler manufacturers - Tom Collins, Hydrogen Lead at Bosch Thermotechnology; Jon Phillips, Group Product Manager for wall hung boilers at BDR Thermea; and Delta-EE expert Steven Ashurst. Find out more about our hydrogen research at www.delta-ee.com/hydrogen.

 

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Nathan Wilson's picture
Nathan Wilson on Mar 16, 2021

Hydrogen is the worst way to heat homes, in spite of what fossil fuel companies may tell us.

The main heating options which prevent on-site CO2 emissions are:

1) Hydrogen - requires new infrastructure, has the highest fuel cost unless made from fossil fuel (w/ supply-side CC&S).  No safety improvement vs. fossil methane gas.

2) Electric heat pumps - no new distribution infrastructure, modest CO2 emissions benefit until grid is very clean, can use electricity from a mix of fossil fuel w/ CC&S, renewables/nuclear, or hydrogen.  Excellent safety.

3) Hot water district heat networks. same infrastructure challenge as Hydrogen, can include very low cost energy storage (big tanks),  very low cost energy using combined-heat-and-power at nuclear, hydrogen, or fossil fuel w/ CC&S power plants, or energy costs similar to home heat pumps using industrial heat pumps.  Excellent safety.

The following article describes a Princeton University deep decarbonization study, which includes in the results the observation that hydrogen-heating has poor fuel-cycle efficiency and high cost.

https://energycentral.com/c/ec/big-affordable-effort-needed-america-reac...

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