Everything you need to know about hydrogen boilers

Within the UK, the Government have set a target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. With this target in mind, more eco-friendly and renewable energy sources are becoming important for the clean energy heating of our homes.  

One resource that could be used within your central heating system, which has the potential to produce low-carbon heating, is hydrogen.   

What is Hydrogen? 

Hydrogen is a natural gas, which can be harvested in a variety of ways, including biological or renewable power such as solar panels or wind.  

The potential for hydrogen to work as an energy efficient heating system into the future is promising. During the combustion of hydrogen, it only emits water vapour, unlike other natural gases which produce carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide when burnt.  

This means that hydrogen could potentially be a carbon-free energy source in the future, with zero carbon emissions being produced from your hydrogen-friendly heating!  

How does a Hydrogen boiler work? 

A hydrogen-compatible boiler is an alternative to a traditional gas boiler that you can find within your home today. These new boilers use hydrogen gas as a primary* source of fuel to produce heat.  

The key feature of using one of these hydrogen boilers is that they produce low carbon emissions when in use, meaning that you can heat your own home with a smaller carbon footprint and become more environmentally friendly! 

The hydrogen gas being used within these new boilers is planned to eventually be delivered to your home through the same existing UK gas network, with the Government aiming for 5GW of low carbon production capacity by 2030**. 

Hydrogen Ready Boilers 

Here at Swale Heating we use hydrogen ready boilers, which use a mixture of hydrogen gas and the regular natural gas that your boiler already uses. The split of these gases in our hydrogen-compatible boilers is 20% hydrogen and 80% natural gas. 

The aim for these types of boilers is to work towards gradually increasing the amount of hydrogen being used, so that we can eventually have a zero-carbon future with clean energy heating for our homes. 

With one of our new hydrogen ready boilers, our customers can feel confident knowing that if the Government put any new hydrogen targets in place, that their boiler will be hydrogen-friendly! 

There are some behind the scenes tweaks that your engineer may need to carry out in the transition to hydrogen to make your hydrogen gas boiler fully hydrogen ready. But you will not notice any differences with the way your boiler runs in your day-to-day life. 

What are the advantages of a hydrogen ready boiler? 

  • The main advantage is that using hydrogen gas gives the potential of producing zero carbon emissions when heating your home. Combustion of the gas produces only water vapour as a byproduct, helping to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions.
  • It can also be renewable – hydrogen can be produced by using multiple renewable energy sources, like wind or solar power. 
  • The existing gas networks in the UK are aiming to supply hydrogen straight to your home by 2025***. 

What are the disadvantages of a hydrogen ready boiler? 

  • There can be some safety concerns if hydrogen is not handled properly. It is flammable, so would need specific safety measures and equipment when being used or stored.  
  • A large majority of the production of hydrogen currently relies on fossil fuels, meaning that it will emit carbon dioxide at the production stage. More renewable energy resources, like solar panels, will be needed to make hydrogen completely carbon free at all stages – this could potentially be costly.  
  • As a result, availability of completely green hydrogen gas may be limited in areas of the UK, making it difficult to implement the use of 100% hydrogen heating systems. Hydrogen ready boilers may be more feasible with the resources that are currently available! 

What other renewable energy options are available? 

If you have weighed up the pros and cons and are still unsure whether hydrogen ready boilers are right for you, we have many other renewable energy options at Swale Heating: 

  • Solar thermal panels – solar panel installation is done on a property’s roof and sunlight is collected from the panels, which then heats up water within tubes. This heated water is then transferred to a well-insulated cylinder, ready for use. This solar thermal system is primarily used for water heating.  
  • Solar PV panels – solar photovoltaic panels, or PV for short is a more advanced form of renewable energy technology. These panels absorb energy from the sun and transform it into electricity, by using layers of semi-conducting silicon material. 
  • Air source heat pumps – air source heat pump installations are set up outside of your home and take heat from the air outside to convert it into heated water inside your home’s central heating system. It does this by compressing gas collected from outside of your home and turning it into a liquid called a refrigerant. 

Contact us 

If you’d like help or information on renewable options, you can use our live chat on the right-hand side or click here to contact us online or call our Sales Team on 0800 731 3344. 

Information sources:

*Worcester Bosch hydrogen ready boilers are a blend of 20% hydrogen gas and 80% natural gas.

**UK Hydrogen Standard 

***Hydrogen Central