Ministers are expected to reignite plans for a £50bn hydrogen overhaul of the country’s gas grid to help strip harmful carbon emissions from the energy system. Within weeks the Government will publish a long-delayed strategy to clean up emissions from the country’s heat, transport and industrial sectors in a multi-billion pound energy evolution as radical as the power sector’s move from fossil fuels to renewables. The plan could usher in an ambitious move to convert the nation’s boilers to run on lower-carbon hydrogen rather than methane-rich natural gas. Experts say this could slash carbon emissions from heating by more than 70pc at the lowest possible cost. But it would still require £50bn and add £170 to gas bills every year by 2050. A report from KPMG found that converting the UK gas grid to use hydrogen could be £150bn to £200bn cheaper than rewiring British homes to use electric heating powered by lower-carbon sources. Crucially, the consultants said ¬hydrogen heating would be the least hassle for energy customers because very few appliances would need to be replaced. The existing gas grid would need only minor upgrades because it was originally designed for hydrogen, the report added. Natural gas has been used to heat homes since the North Sea oil and gas heyday in the late 1960s and early 1970s. But for 100 years before then the country ran on “town gas” which is mostly hydrogen with smaller quantities of carbon monoxide and methane. A return to hydrogen heating is ¬already being trialled by Northern Gas Networks which is working to transform Leeds to become a “hydrogen city” by the late 2020s.
Telegraph 2nd Sept 2017 read more »