We’re busy doing nothing

13th Sep 2021


You’ve whistled along to the song I’m sure, but who would have thought this sentiment could be applied to the enormous challenge of reaching Net Zero, but yes, busy doing nothing works. And before the green lobby cry foul and hurl abuse at the “fossil fuel climate change deniers” busy doing nothing has been the key to our carbon reductions to date and will be into the future.

I’m referring of course to the HyDeploy project of blending up to 20 per cent hydrogen into the gas grid. The gas mix changes, when combustion takes place within a boiler, fire or cooker, the carbon emissions are reduced because the hydrogen content contains no carbon. The appliance doesn’t have to be touched; the user doesn’t incur any disruption or upfront costs and their behaviour stays the same. They are busy doing nothing.

The findings from stage one, at Keele University, confirmed this week at a parliamentary launch, suggest that across the UK such a policy would yield the carbon savings equivalent of removing 2.5 million cars from the roads. In domestic heating terms, the equivalent of ripping out 3 million gas boilers in favour of heat pumps.

The sheer scale of the challenge to decarbonise heat in 30 million buildings across the UK is not going to be met by 30 million individual decisions, all being made with total agreement. Anyone who thinks that needs to get out more and actually meet real people. System change is the only approach that will deliver at that scale.

So serious figures in the energy industry are spending their time looking at solutions that achieve this and blending hydrogen, as a starter, is one of them. It helps unlock the pathway to wider deployment of hydrogen within the energy system and allows for consumer acceptance to the change. Mandating hydrogen-ready boilers, allowing consumers to have appliances ready for a switch of gas, without additional upfront cost or disruption to them is the next stage. Systemic change can be done gradually because the sheer volume of buildings affected means that when change does happen, the impact is massive. All the time the consumer is busy doing nothing.

Best wishes

Mike Foster, CEO, EUA

Mike Foster

EUA's Chief Executive


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