The Hydrogen Revolution

  • In Leeds (UK) (population 450000), ambitious plans are underway to run entirely on hydrogen by 2026. The remit of the feasibility study for this (H21 Leeds City Gate) covered from the distribution network to the appliances in homes.
  • The Orkney island group (population 22 thousand) uses only sustainable energy generated by wind and hydrogen.
  • Since early 2019, a trial has been running in the Rozenburg district of Rotterdam (Netherlands) where an apartment complex is heated with high-efficiency boilers using locally produced hydrogen.
  • The island of Goeree-Overflakkee (Netherlands) has been designated by as a 'testing ground' for the provincial Energy Agenda. The plan is for Stad aan 't Haringvliet to be completely switched to hydrogen by 2025. 
  • Groningen Seaports (Netherlands) invests in infrastructure to distribute green hydrogen (generated from renewable energy from wind turbines and solar parks) to the chemical industry in the region.
  • The Wadden Island of Ameland (Netherlands) is making its energy supply more sustainable through the Sustainable Ameland initiative. Dozens of fuel cells scattered throughout the island supplement the energy supply if the local solar park does not supply enough.
  • Municipalities, business and educational establishments in the Dutch Apeldoorn-Deventer-Zutphen region work together in Cleantech Region on making the energy supply more sustainable. The plan is for the Apeldoorn cultural center to be heated with hydrogen from 2019.
  • Studies carried out by Kiwa at Netbeheer Nederland and as part of the Leeds H21 City Gate project in the UK shows that the existing gas networks can be repurposed to distribute hydrogen, with some adaptations:

    • Transitioning from natural gas to hydrogen will require new gas meters and central heating boilers/hybrid heat pumps designed for hydrogen. 
    • Installers of gas appliances will require training in order to install hydrogen appliances.
    • Hydrogen will require odourisation so gas leaks can be detected easily.
    • Materials research will be necessary on network components to ensure they are not adversely affected by hydrogen.

    A project at Netbeheer Nederland in 2018 showed that the existing Dutch gas network can be re-purposed relatively easily to distribute hydrogen, with changes required being predominantly the installation of new gas meters, new central heating boilers are new domestic cooking and heating appliances, with the associated installer training and safety education.

  • Download: Research Future-Proof Gas Distribution Networks (Dutch)