Hydrogen homes is a terrible idea

(The Ecologist, 3 Nov 2020) A plan to pipe hydrogen, instead of natural gas, into millions of UK homes is being pushed hard by the fossil fuel industry.

Oil and gas companies support switching the gas grid to hydrogen, as a survival option in case of decarbonisation, as hydrogen is usually fabricated from gas.

But the hydrogen strategy stands opposed to the approach recommended for years by housing policy experts and architects: to use insulation to slash the amount of heat needed, and install electric pumps which work like fridges in reverse.

Leeds Trades Union Council (TUC) last month launched a campaign in favour of retrofitting homes with high-quality insulation and heat pumps.


It’s an issue many people can unite around – those fighting for better housing and tenants’ rights, campaigners against fuel poverty, trades unionists fighting building industry cuts, and all of us who want to tackle climate change.

And there’s a choice to be made we cannot avoid.

If the gas grid is switched to hydrogen, that will block for good the electrification-and-insulation approach, that heats homes better, more cheaply, with technology that we know works, and is truly zero-carbon. We cannot have it both ways.

We will be locked into extra dependency on fossil fuels, instead of speeding the shift away from them.

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The Ecologist, 3 Nov 2020: Hydrogen homes is a terrible idea