Is it a good idea to spend time focusing on making carbon creating boilers more efficient?

Perhaps as after all they will possibly be around for another few decades. Is hydrogen a viable solution is a slim possibility for large scale heat in buildings?

I’m preparing a response to government  on their Improving boiler standards and efficiency and I wondered whether anyone in the community has technical or operational experience to share. The consultation is asking for feedback on 53 questions which relate to one of the three following topics.

  1. proposals to improve boiler and heating system efficiency through improvements to minimum standards
  2. proposals to mandate that from 2026 all newly-installed gas boilers are ‘hydrogen-ready’
  3. the potential role of gas boiler-electric heat pump hybrids in heat decarbonisation in the 2020s and 2030s

If you have ideas that you think should be included based on your experience, I’d be interested in considering them.

If you prefer not to respond publicly you are welcome to private message me.

Parents
  • I'm not convinced that hydrogen as an alternative to methane is ever going to happen.  There are problems with distributing it - it leaks easier than methane, and any old steel pipes still in use will be embrittled if they are used with hydrogen.  All older gas appliances would have to be converted or replaced.

    Then there's the problem of energy density.  Taking figures from https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/fossil-fuels-energy-content-d_1298.html,

    Methane has an energy density of 54.0 MJ/kg, whereas hydrogen is 142.2 MJ/kg.  Yay for hydrogen.

    But we measure the delivery of gas by the cubic metre.  I cubic metre of methane gives 40.34 MJ.  But a cubic metre of hydrogen is only 12.79 MJ.

    So we'd be using gas over 3 times as fast if we switched to hydrogen.  That's an awful lot of hydrogen to keep pumping into the gas mains.

Reply
  • I'm not convinced that hydrogen as an alternative to methane is ever going to happen.  There are problems with distributing it - it leaks easier than methane, and any old steel pipes still in use will be embrittled if they are used with hydrogen.  All older gas appliances would have to be converted or replaced.

    Then there's the problem of energy density.  Taking figures from https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/fossil-fuels-energy-content-d_1298.html,

    Methane has an energy density of 54.0 MJ/kg, whereas hydrogen is 142.2 MJ/kg.  Yay for hydrogen.

    But we measure the delivery of gas by the cubic metre.  I cubic metre of methane gives 40.34 MJ.  But a cubic metre of hydrogen is only 12.79 MJ.

    So we'd be using gas over 3 times as fast if we switched to hydrogen.  That's an awful lot of hydrogen to keep pumping into the gas mains.

Children