Hydrogen boiler and heating — Bulb Community

Hydrogen boiler and heating

Will have to eventually replace my boiler and wondering when I'll be able to use hydrogen. I see that someone has already launched a home boiler - https://www.boilerguide.co.uk/hydrogen-powered-boiler-developed-by-giacomini

Now I just need technology to mature and someone to deliver or pipe my house with hydrogen.

Comments

  • edited December 2017
    @daryah, you have to consider how the hydrogen is produced.

    Hint: It's by using electricity

    If you want to be environmentally friendly then the best way to go is an all electric boiler and either a wet electric system for heating the house, or electric heaters/underfloor heating in each room.
    Hydrogen is never going to be better for a home than electric as far as environmental credentials are concerned.

    Most people are put off by the cost though. Per kWh, electricity is more than 4 times as expensive as gas.
    Hydrogen would be more than electricity for obvious reasons.
  • @daryah I like seeing some new tech in the industry.

    But I think we're a long way off a hydrogen supply around the UK, as it will require an absolutely massive change to the gas infrastructure.
  • Is there any wisdom available on electric combination boilers here?

    I'm not in need of one, just keen to learn.
  • @jharrison5, they seem great but personally I couldn't justify/afford having my heating bills be over three times larger (even for the vastly improved environmental situation) so my replacement boiler continues to be powered by dead dinosaur farts.

    The next boiler I need to buy will almost certainly be an electric one though as I'm happy to shift to an induction hob and have been using an electric oven for years, with a smaller well insulated property (my ideal next house), the heating bills should end up somewhat comparable.
  • well, its been a year since I posted this and just reading the replies now. In the meantime seems apart from Brexit, the government has also launched some initiatives to look at alternate ways of heating our homes, including with hydrogen. For hydrogen, check out https://www.hy4heat.info/

    Seems the first hydrogen fuel cell car will be launching early next year and there are a few fill up stations around London for the 66k cars. I understand the fuel stations use electrolysis to generate and store the hydrogen. I further understand hydrogen cars use fuel cell technology to generate electricity. So one could speculate that hydrogen and electricity powered appliances are not mutually exclusive, but complementary?

    In any case, I suspect the transition to alternative home fuels will become clearer by 2025, the year my home boiler hits 15 years of age and probably will need replacing, so I have time. I wonder if I will still be with bulb by then :p
  • There will never be mains-hydrogen. Aside from the problem of producing hydrogen, which is electrically very inefficient, the biggest issue is leaks. H2 is a very small molecule. What is gas-tight for CH4 is very leaky for H2. The prospect of upgrading the national infrastructure for H2 will be so expensive as to be impossible, and that's only the delivery. The website you've linked refers only "up to the meter". Who is going to pay to re-plumb all the houses and commercial/industrial properties for H2-tight pipes and hob/oven fittings? And how will this all be done simultaneously so the switch to H2 supply can happen all on one day?

    Similarly hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are already dead, at least for domestic vehicles. The only manufacturer still pushing hydrogen is Toyota, and they've lost the plot due to their CEO. Considering Toyota were leaders in hybrid technology, their lack of a full BEV, or even more than one plug-in hybrid, is simply embarrassing for them. And don't get me started on their "self-charging hybrid" campaign, where their vehicles are apparently powered by fairy dust. Once their CEO is gone you'll see mass change at Toyota. If they don't get a range of full BEVs on the market soon they're rapidly approaching their Kodak moment.

    You mention that hydrogen and electricity powered appliances are not mutually exclusive, and I agree but not to the extent you're implying. Where fuel cell technology could still be viable is in haulage and mass transport such as electric trains on existing non-electrified routes.

    Everything else - domestic transport, heating, cooking - mains renewable electric is where it's at, with local micro-generation and battery storage (including vehicle-to-grid) for peak-shaving as necessary.
  • @mowcius and @Hooloovoo with regard to the production of Hydrogen fuel there is many ways other than electrolysis, just some examples:

    Natural Gas Reforming/Gasification,
    Renewable Liquid Reforming.
    Fermentation.
    High-Temperature Water Splitting.
    Photobiological Water Splitting.
    Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting.
  • @Hooloovoo never say never. This article goes into further detail and is similarly pessimistic about retrofitting existing pipes. Looks like either pipes need replacing or perhaps some genius can invent a goo that can be fed through gas pipes and create the necessary seal (a pipe dream? =) )

    Anyway, putting brilliant puns to one side, perhaps nuclear fusion is indeed 15 years away as suggested by MIT scientists? Unfortunately won't be in time to replace my boiler. However, hopefully we may have concluded Brexit by then.
  • daryah said:

    Anyway, putting brilliant puns to one side, perhaps nuclear fusion is indeed 15 years away as suggested by MIT scientists?

    Fusion is perpetually 15 years away, sadly.
    daryah said:

    Unfortunately won't be in time to replace my boiler. However, hopefully we may have concluded Brexit by then.

    Wishful thinking! I like it! :)
  • Hooloovoo said:

    Fusion is perpetually 15 years away, sadly.

    daryah said:

    Unfortunately won't be in time to replace my boiler. However, hopefully we may have concluded Brexit by then.

    Wishful thinking! I like it! :)
    15 years does seem optimistic at the current rate of progress (https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/dec/10/theresa-may-postpones-brexit-deal-meaningful-vote-eu)

  • Using Hydrogen is basically just a way of storing electrical energy for use later, like a battery. If your purpose is to heat water, you'd be better off just having a large tank of water heated overnight on a cheap tariff. 100 L of water can store about 3.5 kWh for every 30 degrees temperature difference. Get a 500 L tank and you can potentially store 35 kWh of heat. Enough to keep you warm for a day.

    Also much safer to store hot water than a highly explosive and leaky gas.
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