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Hydrogen may never heat British homes after cancellation of Redcar trial | Climate news


Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho has canceled a controversial hydrogen home heating trial in the Yorkshire coastal town of Redcar after growing opposition from residents.

During the trial, all homes in the test area had their gas central heating removed and replaced with a hydrogen or electric boiler.

But on Thursday the government announced it would no longer go ahead with the trial, casting doubt on the idea of ​​using hydrogen to heat homes in Britain.

A similar court planned for Whitby in the Cheshire was also canceled earlier this year after residents objected.

Unlike the methane we burn in our gas boilers, hydrogen emits no carbon when burned, leading some to tout it as a direct replacement for the way we heat our homes in a net-zero future.

The problem is that hydrogen currently requires large amounts of renewable electricity, which must be generated in an environmentally friendly way – using renewable electricity to separate hydrogen from water in a process called electrolysis.

Many scientists point out that it is therefore much more efficient to use green electricity directly to power alternatives such as heat pumps.

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Responding to​​​​a question earlier this month, Energy Secretary Lord Callanan told Sky's Climate Show with Tom Heap that hydrogen “will not play a major role in home heating”.

In making the announcement, the government says it will still consider evidence from hydrogen heating trials in Fife, as well as elsewhere in Europe, before making a final decision on the matter in 2026.

But with the government backing a ban on boilers – including those that can burn hydrogen – in new-build homes in England from 2025, and generous subsidies already on offer for heat pumps, it is now much more likely that these appliances will be the technology of choice for heating our homes in the coming decades.

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