Government urged to commit to hydrogen-ready boilers

Published:  04 July, 2022

The Institution of Gas Engineers & Managers (IGEM) has  urged the UK Government to commit to hydrogen-ready boilers in the wake of a new report from the Climate Change Committee which criticises the Government’s progress in reducing emissions.

Published on 29 June, the Climate Change Committee’s (CCC) report highlights “major failures” in the Government’s delivery programmes and says current policy will not deliver net zero emissions by 2050.

Despite policies being in place for most sectors of the economy, the committee reports that the likelihood of missing key targets is high. In its Sixth Carbon Budget, the CCC recommends that hydrogen-ready boilers be mandated now to tackle the issue of decarbonising heat in homes, but the latest report notes a lack of progress in this area.

Ian McCluskey, head of technical and Policy, said:

“The CCC’s assessment of the government’s progress is concerning. Based on their current plans, the UK is set to deliver around one third of the emissions reductions needed to meet the Sixth Carbon Budget.

“Policy gaps across buildings, heat and demand side reduction pose a considerable threat in an area that represents a significant portion of total UK carbon emissions. We must move quicker, especially on the business models, to support hydrogen supply and low-regrets actions.

“We agree with the report’s conclusion on mandating hydrogen-ready boilers. Inaction risks pushing up the cost of net zero and missing crucial climate targets.

“IGEM is working closely with its gas network and industry partners, and we see first-hand the significant progress the industry is making on hydrogen pilots and projects across the UK. The government needs to be ready with appropriate policy and market levers once the safety, technical and feasibility cases have been satisfied.

“We urge the government to expedite its consultation on domestic hydrogen-ready boilers and deliver on its commitments to establish business models for hydrogen and CCS by 2023.

“IGEM supports the concerns expressed by the CCC report that requirements for all new gas boilers to be hydrogen-ready by 2025 have not been put in place (despite the government recognising their value in the Heat and Buildings Strategy) and the public consultation on domestic hydrogen ready boilers has yet to be published.”

The CCC’s assessment of the government’s progress in developing a hydrogen economy is mixed. The committee states that the Government has made significant progress through the Hydrogen Strategy to deliver policies that can support the development of a hydrogen economy, despite some uncertainties remaining.

The recent steep rise in gas prices is also leading to reassessment of the role of gas in the low-carbon transition, including the cost and resulting availability of low-carbon blue hydrogen produced from gas using carbon capture and storage (CCS). Mitigating actions include supporting the development and commercialisation of various sources of hydrogen production, to set in place hydrogen supply chains and storage.

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