Scotland is set to start the world’s first trials of green hydrogen to replace natural gas for cooking and heating in 300 homes, the UK’s energy regulator Ofgem announced. Scotland’s gas company SGN will fit houses in Fife with free hydrogen heating systems and stoves/ovens to be used over four years. The aim is to see if carbon-free hydrogen, made from water and electricity via electrolysis, can help the UK meet its carbon goals.

Apparently, households will start receiving green gas from the end of 2022, with no extra cost. Further, nearly 1,000 homes are likely to be included in the test if the first trial phase is completed. As per credible sources, the trial is being backed by the energy regulator, Ofgem, which has allocated £18m to SGN for developing the pioneering project. The allocation is part of a funding competition which aims to encourage innovation for preparing energy grids of Britain for a low-carbon future. In addition, the Scottish government will grant £6.9m for the project. Antony Green, the National Grid hydrogen project head, stated that to attain a net-zero decarbonized future, methane needs to be replaced with green alternatives like hydrogen. Sectors such as heat are hard to decarbonize, and the significance of gas networks for the UK’s existing energy supply indicates that projects like this are important for delivering low carbon energy with enhanced reliability and safety to all consumers, Green added.

Hydrogen is having a moment today, as Toyota also unveiled its second generation, hydrogen-powered Mirai. However, many of the same limitations that apply to green hydrogen in vehicles apply equally to heating systems and appliances. For example, hydrogen electrolysis is only about 80 per cent efficient, meaning that 20 per cent of the electricity used to create it is wasted. If that electricity was instead used to power heat pump-based central heating, it could be more cost-effective than a hydrogen-powered furnace in many cases. Still, the potential use of green hydrogen in the UK is considered important because 85 per cent of homes are heated with a gas furnace or boiler as it’s called in Britain. At the same time, the UK has set a goal to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050.