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Hydrogen: A decarbonisation route for heat in buildings? 

Hydrogen as a means to deliver energy is often touted as a viable solution to assist in meeting the UK’s net zero carbon target. This has a major influence on the need, or otherwise, to enhance new-build energy efficiency and the energy retrofit of our existing stock. Why enhance our buildings if the current use of natural gas can be simply switched to zero-carbon hydrogen?   


LETI have therefore sought to investigate this further and examine to what extent hydrogen is likely to be used, either in part or fully to accompany decarbonisation of the electricity grid. With the considerable hydrogen media hype, the aim has been to harness LETI’s non-aligned approach to navigate through the mass of vested interests to gain a more realistic understanding of its potential for heat in buildings.


Hydrogen is an energy carrier and so critically important is where it sources this energy and whether it is actually zero carbon. In a post-Grenfell era, it is also vital to understand issues like where liability lies for the repurposed gas pipes for combustion in our homes. Any zero-carbon grid switchover comes with high costs and so for building occupiers / owners who pays and its impacts on the fuel poor are also key issues. Is it destined to pick up the mantle as the low-cost fuel for the vast majority of buildings, or as a higher cost fuel for more niche markets exploiting its particular unique characteristics?  


This document acts as a concise primer for those seeking clarity on the likelihood of hydrogen becoming a means of heat delivery for buildings via the pre-existing gas pipe network. It is based on an extensive review of published documents from a broad range of viewpoints. For those who wish to dig further, an extensive reference list is included.

The LETI Hydrogen webinar is available to view below:

Hydrogen Plain.jpg
LETI Hydrogen Webinar 10.02.2021
Clara Bagenal George, Elementa Consulting
Debbie Hobbs, ISG
Chris Twinn, Twinn Sustainability Innovation
Download the Hydrogen webinar slides:
LETI Hydrogen Webinar Presentation(.pdf)
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