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Hydrogen for homes: Discussion paper with questions about how hydrogen might work for homes in Great Britain

26 June 2020

Hydrogen for Homes [ 0.83 mb]

Decarbonising the way we heat our homes and businesses will represent a fundamental change for the vast majority of people. Heating and hot water are responsible for 20% of UK greenhouse gas emissions. The way we heat our homes will have to change for Great Britain to meet its target to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

These changes will be intrusive. This will include everything from altering the fabric of buildings, interruptions to energy supplies and the widespread adoption of new technologies. Proposals include: heat pumps to replace boilers; heating buildings through heat networks; and, the introduction of hydrogen gas for heating and cooking.

Citizens Advice welcomes the government's recently stated intention to publish a Heat and Buildings Strategy. instead of the original plans for a Heat Policy Roadmap. It's crucial that heat is not considered in isolation. The transition to low carbon heat will only succeed if it takes place alongside energy efficiency and other key factors.

Citizens Advice is seeking to understand how hydrogen might be used for heating and cooking in homes. The CCC has recommended that hydrogen is best used selectively alongside electrification, resource efficiency and energy efficiency.  It raises a number of questions about how how hydrogen might become part of the fuel mix for homes and small businesses across Great Britain.

This paper sets out some of our initial thoughts and understanding of the potential for hydrogen, as well as highlighting where more information is needed. It also highlights the gaps that it will be crucial to fill if hydrogen is to become a realistic and achievable option for consumers in the next decade.

This paper is set out under the following four headings. For each topic we outline the key questions we anticipate consumers will have.

  1. Hydrogen as a fuel source

  2. Hydrogen boiler technology/changes to the home

  3. Costs of hydrogen

  4. Installation, repair and maintenance