New boilers that use just natural gas could be outlawed in the UK starting in 2026.
The government is considering mandating that all new boilers installed starting in 2026 be hydrogen-ready, meaning they can operate on either gas or hydrogen, according to a consultation that was announced on Tuesday.
According to Mike Foster, Chief Executive of the Energy and Utilities Alliance and The Heating and Hotwater Industry Council, mandating hydrogen-ready boilers is a crucial step in decarbonizing households, as The Telegraph reported. In order for a new, hydrogen-ready boiler to be priced similarly to a natural gas appliance, boiler manufacturers have already committed to this pricing. In order to assist us to reach our 2050 goal, this implies that 1.7 million houses each year will be net zero ready at no additional cost to the consumer.
As part of its pledge to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the UK government is attempting to decarbonize buildings. There have been several prior declarations of prohibitions on new gas boilers in order to achieve this. According to a 2019 report from The Guardian, gas boilers will no longer be used in new home buildings by 2025. Previously, a 2035 deadline had been set on the sale of new gas-only boilers, according to The Telegraph.
The new idea would accelerate that timeframe by nine years while also paving the path for hydrogen to be used in place of low-pressure gas instead.
According to officials in the consultation document, requiring hydrogen-ready boilers will offer the industry the assurance it needs to develop supply chains so that the possible transition’s benefits are maximized.
The switch to hydrogen is not without debate, though. In essence, heat pumps or green hydrogen are the two main future options for decarbonizing building heating in the UK.
According to the Financial Times, hydrogen only releases water when cooked for fuel. However, there are two different ways to make hydrogen: a blue technique that involves turning natural gas into hydrogen and storing the carbon dioxide, or a green method that involves using renewable energy to power the electrolysis of water. According to The Telegraph, this is currently how the majority of hydrogen is created, which implies that for the time being, hydrogen does not contribute to net-zero goals.
Installing energy-efficient electric heat pumps that are powered by a grid that is becoming more carbon-free is the alternative heating solution. The drawback of this approach is that heat pumps, which are best used in well-insulated homes and can cost up to $15,000, are not common in the UK.
The drawback of hydrogen is that it hasn’t been thoroughly tested, and some climate activists contend that natural gas firms are promoting it because they have a stake in keeping their infrastructure operational.
According to Alice Harrison, the leader of Global Witness’s campaign against fossil fuels, “[heating using hydrogen is] like making dog food with caviar, in that it’s impossible to afford and in scarce supply,” the Financial Times said. Instead of attempting to appease the gas corporations, posing as hydrogen suppliers, we should concentrate on cleaner and more cost-effective solutions like heat pumps.