Who believes in coincidences?

17th Jun 2019


Two weeks ago I met with Chris Stark, CEO of The CCC with a team from Worcester Bosch at their factory. The purpose was to show Chris where they were with a hydrogen-compatible condensing gas central heating boiler. It was obvious that Chris was taking considerable interest in the technical aspects around boiler conversion – so instead of replacing boilers, like-for-like on the wall, it will take under an hour replacing a couple of parts. From the early thinking around hydrogen, that time difference is a logistical game-changer.

Aside from the costs, the sheer scale of change and the inevitable disruption to consumers, has always been at the forefront of concerns about this approach to decarbonising heat. But as ever, industry has responded to the challenge. 

Last week, on the influential Today Programme, the BBC’s environment expert Roger Harrabin described how the scare stories of banning gas boilers were indeed misplaced, and that hydrogen gas boilers would instead provide the warmth and hot water for consumers. The day after, The Times ran a piece covering the Government announcement agreeing a Net Zero target, with a column headed “Hydrogen in every boiler to meet goal” – this featured supportive quotes from none other than Chris Stark and Worcester Bosch.

 At this point, I need to mention that many other member companies are heavily engaged in the same policy space and it is through their efforts that we can see a clear pathway to decarbonising heat. It isn’t a coincidence that this momentum is gaining media attention. It has been through sheer hard graft, persistence and a willingness to challenge perceived wisdom that we are where we are today. 

The heat decarbonisation pathway, using the existing gas networks piping low carbon gas (bio and hydrogen) into people’s homes, with appliances that look and function exactly as they do now, has always been the ambition. There’s plenty still to do, and there must be no complacency or let up in the pace of our endeavors, but it is no coincidence that hydrogen gas is rising up the political agenda.

Best wishes 

Mike Foster CE