Hydrogen really is a Clean Gas, let’s tell people why

2nd Dec 2019


The political manifestos have been published and of the four English-based parties, all mention hydrogen positively. So the future is all to play for, regardless of the outcome. One Party failed to mention hydrogen, the Greens, not a surprise really. They don’t like gas, however clean it is. And hydrogen is a Clean Gas and we should say why.

The obvious one is around carbon dioxide emissions. When combusted there are none. The same applies to carbon monoxide, the silent killer. The gas industry goes to great lengths to raise awareness of this issue. Last week was Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week and there was considerable social media activity by all the GDNs. As part of the regulatory regime, Ofgem oversees action by them. Whether we think it is the GDNs responsibility or not to be the lead bodies tackling this problem, they do so diligently.

But that isn’t all. I want to unveil some new information about how clean hydrogen boilers will be. As far as I know, this information has limited circulation to date, so I hope it is of interest.

One of the biggest public policy challenges is around air quality. We’ve seen the consumer reaction to diesel cars, which though better for carbon than petrol, emit nitrogen oxides that pollute the air. We are seeing local politicians start to ban diesel cars from cities, so air quality has important commercial as well as health impacts.

So here is the news.

Gas boilers from around the 1990s emitted in excess of 240 mg per kWh of nitrogen oxides (NOx); up to 2005, non-condensing gas boilers emitted between 150-260 mg per kWh. Since then, efficiency improvements with condensing gas boilers have reduced NOx levels further. The current Ecodesign requirements under ErP (European Directive on Energy Related Products) enforce a maximum NOx emission level of 56 mg/kWh. Now I’m sure you’ll agree this is a substantial reduction and will lead to cleaner air. But hydrogen gas boilers go further.

I have been told, that testing has taken place and it has produced verifiably good results. NOx levels of 25mg or lower, per kWh. Now that is 55 per cent lower than current levels and when accounting for the more efficient product too, 93 per cent lower per household from 1990 levels.

Now that is what I call Clean Gas.

Best wishes

Mike Foster, CEO