Gas-fired space heating accounts for around 720 terawatt hours (TWh) of energy consumption each year in the UK. That’s more than double the UK’s annual electricity consumption of around 350TWh. Burning all that natural gas isn’t sustainable, which is why the UK government announced in April 2019 that no new properties should be fitted with gas-fired boilers from 2025. One approach is to transform a network based on natural gas into one that uses hydrogen. The H21 project aims to swap out the methane burners in gas appliances, such as boilers, hobs and ovens, for hydrogen burners across the city of Leeds, to demonstrate that such a network is possible. Rather than delivering natural gas to homes, the gas network would deliver water from which domestic heat pumps could extract heat. Water is, after all, never scarce in the UK at the coldest times of year. A house could take in water, extract heat from the water so that it forms ice slurry and dump the slurry down the drain where it would melt again. On the coldest days in winter, the average UK home uses up about 160 kWh of heating energy each day – equivalent to having two big electric kettles turned on continuously.
The Conversation 30th Jan 2020 read more »