UK Shelves Hydrogen Town in Blow for Using Fuel in Home Heating

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A hydrogen boiler inside a home at a hydrogen test facility.

The UK government scrapped plans for a “hydrogen town” pilot, in another setback for the country’s plans to use the fuel to decarbonize its heating systems.

The UK has been exploring hydrogen’s potential to replace gas — which heats most British homes — but trials in Redcar and Whitby have already been canceled after local opposition. It still plans to make a decision in 2026 on whether hydrogen has a role to play in large-scale residential heating, according to a statement on Thursday from the government.

Rishi Sunak has been slammed by his climate advisers after softening parts of the UK’s green agenda last year. The prime minister has argued the UK is overachieving on its green goals and can afford to slow down on renewable energy, efficient boilers and home insulation, but he’s also been accused of trying to weaponize net zero ahead of elections this year.

Decarbonizing home heating is one of the steepest hills the UK has to climb to reach net zero because the housing stock is warmed predominantly by gas and, in some cases, oil boilers. The country is also lagging behind other European nations in installing heat pumps.


Some industry experts said consideration of hydrogen for home heating has been as a distraction, and welcomed the decision to shelve the pilot project.

“Today’s decision makes clear that all attention and investment should be focused on readily available clean heat solutions, like heat pumps and heat networks,” said Juliet Phillips, UK energy program lead at climate change think tank E3G. 

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

By Priscila Azevedo Rocha


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