What are Hydrogen Boilers?
Are Hydrogen Boilers the Future of Heating?
You may be aware of the Government's low carbon agenda, there are plans in the future to ban the installation of Gas boilers as of 2025. The proposed replacement is Hydrogen Boilers. You may have some questions about what this means for the future of your home and what costs you might face in the future.
How do Hydrogen Boilers Work?
A hydrogen boiler works very similar to a Natural Gas Boiler. In fact, the process of installing a hydrogen boiler is not so different from installing a gas boiler.
While Hydrogen does burn differently from Natural Gas, which has resulted in a change to some of the internal workings of a boiler. The Theory and process remain much the same across both boiler types.
What is Hydrogen Gas?
Hydrogen Gas is a clean alternative to methane Gas. While Methane Gas is naturally occurring, it is limited in its supply. Additionally, the burning of Methane gas releases carbon into the atmosphere which is causing damage to our environment.
Hydrogen Gas while being naturally occurring, can be artificially manufactured using electrolysis. It can be created from Water, creating Oxygen and Hydrogen Gas. When it is burned it turns back into water vapour.
Overall Hydrogen gas is better for the environment and actually generates 2.5 times the amount of energy.
There are even new experimental cars and vans that run on renewable hydrogen gas.
Can I get a Hydrogen Boiler?
The UK Government are planning on banning the installation of Natural Gas Boilers. This won't be a sudden change and will result in a slow transition from Natural Gas to Hydrogen.
Because of this slow transition, it's not currently possible to get a boiler which runs on 100% Hydrogen. Although it wouldn't work anyway as the supply of hydrogen is not currently available!
One of the steps in transitioning from Gas to Hydrogen is the introduction of a percentage of Hydrogen into the supply. Currently, experiments are taking place in the North, introducing 20% Hydrogen into the supply.
This is likely to be what the start of the transition will look like across the UK in the next few years.
Most new boilers installed by Gasway Services are designed to run this new blend of Hydrogen and Natural gas without any issues.
Within manufacturing, UK boiler suppliers are designing boilers which will be able to run on 100% Hydrogen ahead of the massive transition.
So while you can't currently get a boiler which runs on 100% Hydrogen, it's likely your current boiler can run Hydrogen-Blend. Pure Hydrogen Boilers are likely to be available by 2026, depending on development time.
How Much Will a Hydrogen Boiler Cost?
Due to the similarity of the installation process, as well as the technology involved. It's unlikely that Hydrogen Boilers will cost any more than current boilers.
However, in older homes, it may be necessary to update piping to a more modern standard to allow for the safe transportation of Hydrogen to the boiler unit. This may be at an additional cost.
Will Gas Boilers be Banned?
As of 2025, new homes are required to be future-proofed with low-carbon heating. Due to new standards being set by the government about carbon emissions.
It is unlikely that a natural gas boiler will be allowed to be installed in new homes. The proposed alternatives are Hydrogen boilers, Air Source Heat Pumps and Ground Source Heat Pumps.
Should I replace my Natural Gas Boiler Now?
As discussed above, it's still not currently possible to get a boiler that runs on pure 100% Hydrogen, however potentially it's something we should all be thinking about in the next few years.
However, even if you replaced your Natural Gas Boiler in 2025 it's likely that it will still be running on Natural Gas for the rest of its lifetime.
The last possible point on the proposed timeline where you could continue to run a gas boiler is 2035, at that point is likely to be impossible to continue to run one.
So if you are thinking about upgrading your boiler, or simply want it to last a bit longer consider some of our services.
When will the transition from Natural Gas to Hydrogen take Place?
The exact timescale for all of this is still a little vague, as certain improvements and advances in technology still need to be made to facilitate all this.
Especially in Norfolk as many of our Gas-pipe systems are horrendously out of date and are not currently up to the standard to run pure hydrogen safely.
The catalyst for these changes is of course the ban on the installation of natural gas boilers in 2025. However, there are no firm rules in place for what this means for boilers currently in use etc.
- Step One: The introduction of 20% Hydrogen into the Gas Supply, while this won't affect the whole country, it's likely to become more widely available as time goes on.
- Step Two: Hydrogen-Ready Boilers installed into newly built homes. This is likely to be supported by the installation of more ground-source and air-source heat pumps to keep carbon emissions under the regulation standards.
- Step Three: Nationwide introduction of higher percentages of hydrogen. Over time higher percentages of hydrogen will be injected into the Gas supply and it will become more widely available.
- Step Four: By 2045, The Whole of the Gas supply will be Hydrogen Gas. Every Boiler installed will be a Hydrogen Gas Boiler.
This timeline is quite flexible and will likely be backed by more legislation from the government to incentivise the installation of Hydrogen-Ready Boilers.
Further tips and advice
If you are reading through this article because your boiler has been playing up and you were researching alternatives then you are in the right place.
While Gasway services offer boiler installations, boiler cover plans and boiler repairs.
We also have a huge range of supporting articles intended to help you get the most out of your boiler, or even troubleshoot a few small issues.
Check out our information area, to find out how to top up your boiler pressure, read your gas meter, reset your boiler or how save money on your heating. Our latest article covers everything about applying for Boiler Grants.