Imperial College London: Annual lecture explores hydrogen’s role in decarbonising heat on net zero path

Dr Needle discussed the challenge of decarbonising heat in the delivery of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and the role that hydrogen plays in this endeavour.

In August 2021, the UK Government set out its ambition to kick-start a “hydrogen revolution” by using more hydrogen in the path to net zero. Dr Needle discussed how hydrogen could indeed help decarbonise UK heating, which is largely controlled by the natural gas network.

In the UK, 22 million homes rely on the natural gas grid for heating, and 17 per cent of UK carbon emissions come from heat. Decarbonising the way we heat our buildings will cost the UK an estimated £250 billion.

As well as using more hydrogen, Dr Needle emphasised how our buildings also need to be better insulated. UK homes perform the worst in Europe at keeping heat in. With an inside temperature of 20°C and outside temperature of 0°C, the average UK home can expect to lose 3°C within five hours. Over the same period, Norway’s homes lose 0.9°C, which is the lowest rate of heat loss in Europe.

Dr Needle, who is also Vice President of Hydrogen UK, was introduced by SGI Director Professor Adam Hawkes, also of Imperial’s Department of Chemical Engineering. The talk was followed by a live Q&A. You can watch the full talk in the video below.

Topics included:

Why decarbonising heat is such a challenge in the delivery of net zero
The polarising debates around the role of hydrogen and why they are not helpful
The essential role of consumers in achieving net zero – and why we should listen to them
The role that hydrogen should take in supporting the heating ambition
The work that Cadent Gas and others in the sector are delivering to turn concept into reality

Comments are closed.