A concise history of the concept of “Hydrogen Economy”. The concept of “hydrogen economy” has a distinct “1960s” feeling. It is the idea of maintaining the lifestyle of the post-war period, with suburban homes, green lawns around them, two cars in every garage, all that. The only difference would be that this world would be powered with clean hydrogen. It all started with the dream of cheap and abundant energy that nuclear plants were believed to be able to produce. The idea changed shape many times, but it always remained a dream, and probably will continue to remain a dream in the future.
Resilience 21st May 2021 read more »
Hy Street is not your average suburban terrace. Tucked away on the remote RAF Spadeadam training ground in Cumbria, it is surrounded not by neat gardens and identikit housing, but by bombing ranges and rocket-firing stands. Yet the houses of Hy Street are designed to be as ordinary as possible: a small cluster of red-brick homes, with tarmac driveways, glossy fitted kitchens and double-glazed windows. That is because it is here that engineers are simulating what would happen should the UK switch its gas grid from natural gas to hydrogen. They want to know how hydrogen behaves in a normal three-bedroom semi. Does the house stay warm? How easily could it catch fire? If there’s a gas leak, where would the hydrogen molecules drift? These are burning questions. Time is running out to decarbonise the UK’s homes, which are responsible for about 14 per cent of national carbon emissions. Within just 29 years, every home in the country must use a green fuel if the UK is to meet its net-zero emissions target. It means the days of natural gas are numbered. Around 25 million homes – 85 per cent of the UK’s total – run on gas boilers. This week, the influential International Energy Agency warned that the installation of new gas boilers should be banned by 2025 to put the world on a trajectory for net zero. But rather than mothball all the existing gas infrastructure – which is worth billions of pounds – the gas industry believes the UK could save the pipes and just switch fuels. Hydrogen can power homes while causing much less pollution than natural gas, the argument goes, because it emits only water and oxygen when it is burnt. Early testing at RAF Spadeadam suggests hydrogen is as safe as natural gas to use in homes, and manufacturers are well on their way to developing commercial hydrogen-ready boilers, cookers and even barbecues. A trial to test whether a 100 per cent hydrogen blend is feasible in the real world will soon be under way in Fife.
iNews 21st May 2021 read more »