Britain’s gas network, hundreds of thousands of miles of pipes connecting 23 million homes, is filled with a fuel that, by 2050, will in effect be banned. The solution? Pipe hydrogen, a gas whose only by-product is water. Engineers say they have to work out only three things to meet the climate targets announced yesterday by Theresa May: how to make that hydrogen, how to install a boiler that runs on it in every home, then how to manage arguably the biggest infrastructure shift in British history. “It is the biggest challenge the UK faces,” Chris Stark, chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change, said. “Each house needs to be fully or near-fully decarbonised — that’s a million homes a year if we started tomorrow. More than half the cost of going to net zero in carbon will be in converting buildings.” It looks likely that our best source will be the very gas it replaces. The chemical processes exist to turn methane, which is CH4, into pure hydrogen. The harder bit is keeping the carbon you remove and then burying it. Mr Stark believes that it is achievable “provided the right incentives are in place”.
Times 13th June 2019 read more »