A new report appears to have identified a winning combination for UK decarbonisation efforts, by using hydrogen to heat homes supported with significant carbon capture and storage (CCS) development.

The H21 Leeds City Gate report outlines the findings of a two year project carried out by Northern Gas Networks (NGN), Kiwa Gastec, Amec Foster Wheeler and Wales and West Utilities.

Heating and cooking is currently responsible for more than 30% of UK CO2 emissions. The report says burning hydrogen rather than natural gas produces pure water instead of emitting CO2.

The report calls for the gas grid to be converted to hydrogen, starting with the Leeds city region and then across the UK, making a significant contribution to meeting the country's decarbonisation targets.

By converting the gas grid to carry 100% hydrogen UK-wide, NGN says heat emissions would be reduced by about 73% and further carbon savings would be realised in transport and localised energy generation too.

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 decarbonisation targets.

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

SCCS director Stuart Haszeldine said: “Replacing the use of natural gas with hydrogen for heating and cooking would almost completely decarbonise 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 decarbonisation efforts, and I welcome the launch of the H21 Leeds City Gate report to point the way forward.”