UK’s first hydrogen houses offer first glimpse of hydrogen technology in homes

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The UK’s first homes featuring household appliances fuelled entirely by hydrogen are to be built at Northern Gas Networks’ site in Low Thornley, Gateshead.

The hydrogen houses, which will be using 100% hydrogen for domestic heating and cooking in appliances including boilers, hobs, cookers and fires, are not intended to be habitable, but to showcase the use of these applications in a real-world domestic setting.

Energy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan commented on the announcement: “From running a hot bath and cooking our evening meals to turning on the heating, most of us use natural gas every day.

“However, to tackle climate change, we need to find alternatives to fossil fuels and move towards making clean energy the norm.

“While these new houses in Gateshead will look like any other, they will showcase how low carbon hydrogen can transform the way we power our homes and offer a glimpse of what the future holds as we build back greener.”

The houses are planned to be open to members of the public, who will be able to view appliances and see how they compare to existing ones.

Local schools, colleges and universities will also be welcomed to learn about the new technology, as well as potential careers in the emerging green economy and in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

The hydrogen house project secured a £250,000 grant from the government’s Hy4Heat Innovation programme and is being run by Northern Gas Networks and Cadent, who have both also input £250,000 of funding each.

Mark Horsley, Chief Executive Officer of Northern Gas Networks, commented: “We’re delighted to be working with BEIS and Cadent on this unique demonstration, which gives energy customers a first glimpse at hydrogen technology in the home.

“Just like natural gas, hydrogen can heat homes in exactly the same way, meaning minimal change for customers in terms of how they use gas for heating or cooking.

“The houses bring to life the potential of this green gas for keeping UK homes warm, while minimising impact on the environment.”

At the moment 86% of homes in the UK use gas to heat their homes.

Unlike natural gas, which is responsible for over 30% of the UK’s carbon emissions, hydrogen produces no carbon at the point of use, with the only by-product being water.

The houses are intended to have a three-year lifespan, but potentially longer, up to 10 years.

Steve Fraser, Chief Executive Officer at Cadent, added: “We are proud to be part of this important project where we will be able to show customers what their future gas appliances will look like. A familiar sight to them, with one difference, they will be powered by hydrogen.

“These projects are so important to demonstrate a decarbonised energy solution in homes now.”

The government plans to publish its Hydrogen Strategy later this year.