Could hydrogen be the key to meeting UK energy targets?

Until now government efforts to achieving energy targets has been strongly relied upon the use of heat pumps, however there may be another option on the cards…

Distribution grid owner Northern Gas Networks has proposed that the use of hydrogen could be a good alternative to using natural gas in the UK. This comes to light as the company draw plans for Leeds to the be first city to try out the new heat supply, with predictions of a £50bn national roll-out.

Hydrogen explained

Hydrogen can be produced from natural gas. By using carbon capture and storage technology we are able to extract hydrogen from natural gas, which is mostly methane, leaving carbon dioxide as a by-product.


A recent report published by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) discussed the UK’s current energy strategy and stated that hydrogen along with the use of heat pumps are the two “main options” for the government to implement.

Statistics also released this year show that 80% of homes in the UK are heated by natural gas, which releases carbon dioxide, consequently taking a toll on our health and environment.  


For the UK to achieve it’s 2050 energy targets the Government must decide whether they want to move forward with using hydrogen as a heat supply. With this being said, it was only last year the Government scrapped a £1bn CCS competition which would have developed the use of CCS technology, ultimately needed to produce Hydrogen.

Greenhouse gas emissions objectives have been set by the Climate Change Act, and it’s been advised by the CCC, that almost all UK businesses and homes will need to replace natural gas with greener heating to comply with climate law regulations.

Another possible option for the Government to consider is district heating, which is a central heating system that distributes energy to a number of buildings in the community. This is not only energy efficient but reliable, cost effective and decreases our carbon footprint.


Overall the CCC stated that “a large-scale lift to a hydrogen gas supply is technically feasible for existing gas distribution networks.” But, “Before a decision to proceed with hydrogen, it would be essential that CCS is under active development in the UK, in order to provide a low-carbon route to producing hydrogen at scale”.

361 Degrees are hopeful that this new discovery could be a good start for the UK’s new energy strategy. Previously we have worked on a number of district heating projects, developing and improving new techniques to maximise their energy efficiency. And we continue to do so with the increase in various heating technologies.

We look forward to seeing the Government’s next steps to introduce hydrogen into the UK gas grid and how we can do our bit to produce greener heat for the country.

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