Worcester Bosch have made a boiler for the UK to meet its climate change targets of zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Boiler could be instrumental in decarbonising heating and hot water according to Worcester Bosch.

A boiler that can run on 100% hydrogen gas has been unveiled by Worcester Bosch.

Why has Worcester Bosch made such boiler?

The UK government has already introduced measures to improve the energy efficiency of gas boilers, and from 2025 it will be illegal to install a gas boiler in a new build.

With a third of UK greenhouse gases coming from our homes, it is quite clear that the UK will not meet its climate change targets without a change in home heating technology and fuel.

According to Worcester Bosch, the boiler will be a direct replacement to the natural gas boiler you already have in your home, burning natural gas on its first day until the switch to hydrogen is made.

Why hydrogen?

Hydrogen isn’t the only alternative being looked into as a solution to our carbon problem.

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has ambitions to use heat pumps, powered by electricity, as a way of lowering the heating emissions of homes.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) figures show how this isn’t a solution for many properties however, both on or off the gas grid.

When hydrogen combusts all it makes is water, meaning carbon is not released into the atmosphere. It can also be manufactured with little or no greenhouse gas emissions by electrolysing water using renewable energy.

Hydrogen burns at a pace three times faster than natural gas, so it tries to burn back down past the burner and ultimately into the gas pipe and valve if it isn’t stopped. 

In order to hit the sweet spot, Worcester Bosch had to counteract the flame speed with sufficient air and diffusion on the burner itself. This meant the hydrogen flame could sit on the burner quite happily, heating up the water, just like a natural gas flame would do.

Worcester Bosch boiler

Hydrogen vs. Natural Gas

Hydrogen: Does it smell? – Hydrogen smells exactly like Natural gas does today.

Natural Gas: Does it produce carbon monoxide? – Yes. Natural gas contains carbon, which when burned produces CO. Hydrogen gives off no carbon emissions when burned.

Hydrogen: What boiler types are available right now? – Combi, system and regular boiler types will be available by Worcester Bosch, BAXI, Vaillant and a few more.

Could an independent Gas Safe engineer convert a natural gas boiler into a hydrogen boiler that is already installed in my home?

It is not possible for a current, natural gas-firing boiler to be converted to burn 100% hydrogen gas, however, it may be possible for them to use smaller blends of perhaps 20% hydrogen in methane.

When the volume of hydrogen within the blend is high requires a dedicated hydrogen boiler. However, it is possible that a “hydrogen ready” boiler may burn natural gas up until the point when the gas gets switched to hydrogen.

How long would it take my engineer to install the hydrogen boiler in my home?

The installation time will be very similar to current natural gas appliances. However, hydrogen readiness will also apply to the gas supply pipe, and the gas meter.

Low carbon gas in our homes will be the cheapest, most secure, and most flexible source of energy.