The UK’s CO2 emissions can be reduced by using hydrogen to heat homes if there is a significant carbon capture and storage (CCS) development, according to a new report.

The H21 Leeds City Gate report has been published following  the completion of a two year project which was carried out by Northern Gas Networks (NGN), Kiwa Gastec, Amec Foster Wheeler and Wales and West Utilities[s1] .

The project aimed at assessing the potential usage of hydrogen by replacing natural gas for cooking in heating, beginning in Leeds and eventually covering the entire UK.

The report found that burning hydrogen rather than natural gas produces pure water instead of emitting CO2, making a significant contribution to meeting the country's decarburization targets.

Heating and cooking is currently responsible for more than 30% of UK CO2 emissions.

NGN H21 Project Manager Dan Sadler said: “A nationwide conversion to a hydrogen gas grid is technically possible, economically viable and will be a significant contributor to meeting the UK’s decarburization targets.

“This is a major opportunity for our country to become a world leader in hydrogen technology and decarburization and would create thousands of new jobs across the UK.”

According to NGN, heat emissions would be reduced by about 73%.

The report also found that existing gas infrastructure can be used for hydrogen transportation while the hydrogen program would create new jobs.

Commenting on the report, Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage (SCCS) director Stuart Haszeldine said: “Replacing the use of natural gas with hydrogen for heating and cooking would almost completely decarbonizes these systems. These have so far been a very difficult area of emissions to effectively reduce without digging up urban streets and at acceptable cost.”

“However to be truly low carbon, generating the hydrogen will require CCS, or much more expensive electrolysis of water using electricity. The least cost method of generating the large amounts of Hydrogen required is to reform natural gas into pure Hydrogen, and separating the carbon in the form of CO2.”

“CCS and hydrogen represent a winning combination for UK decarburization efforts, and I welcome the launch of the H21 Leeds City Gate report to point the way forward.”