Hydrogen is having a moment today, as Toyota also unveiled its second generation, hydrogen-powered Mirai. However, many of the same limitations that apply to green hydrogen in vehicles apply equally to heating systems and appliances. For example, hydrogen electrolysis is only about 80 percent efficient, meaning that 20 percent of the electricity used to create it is wasted. If that electricity was instead used to power heat pump-based central heating, it could be more cost-effective than a hydrogen-powered furnace in many cases.
Still, the potential use of green hydrogen in the UK is considered important because 85 percent of homes are heated with a gas furnace, or boiler as it’s called in Britain. At the same time, the UK has set a goal to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.
“If we truly want to reach a net zero de-carbonized future, we need to replace methane with green alternatives like hydrogen,” the National Grid’s Antony Green told The Guardian. “Sectors such as heat are difficult to de-carbonize, and the importance of the gas networks to the UK’s current energy supply means projects like this are crucial if we are to deliver low carbon energy, reliably and safely to all consumers.”