Hydrogen plan reaction - Kensa Group


15 December 2023

In response to news that the Government has announced £400 million for hydrogen projects, Kensa, the ground source heat pump organisation, welcomes the growth of the green industry but urges leaders to focus on existing technology, such as heat pumps that can decarbonise home heating at scale


Tamsin Lishman, CEO of Kensa Group, comments: “Kensa welcomes the Government providing more clarity about the role of hydrogen in the UK economy. As we stand on the brink of a radical shift in how we heat our buildings, it’s important to understand the differences between heat pumps and hydrogen in the context of their viability as a scalable solution and the urgency with which we need to take action on climate change.

“Some believe hydrogen is a get-out-of-jail-free card, but the evidence suggests that compared to heat pumps, hydrogen use for domestic heating is less economical, less efficient and more resource-intensive. In a review of 32 independent studies, not one of them found hydrogen to be a cost-effective decarbonisation solution for heating compared to heat pumps. Indeed, it takes six units of electricity to get just one unit of hydrogen. Thankfully, unlike hydrogen, heat pumps work today and reduce bills - one unit of electricity delivers 4 units of heat with a ground source heat pump.

“By cancelling the controversial proposals for a hydrogen trial in Whitby and not proceeding with the proposed trial in Redcar the Government recognises the enormous challenges hydrogen poses. So much so that hydrogen-ready boilers are not considered to be a suitable or efficient low-carbon heating system in the Future Homes Standard.

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“Time is ticking for the future of our planet. Heat pump technology is proven and ready to be deployed at scale to decarbonise the majority of UK domestic buildings now, as evidenced by successful community-based heat pump switchovers like our ‘Heat the Streets’ project, unlike hydrogen, where trials have been either cancelled or will not give data until 2026. 

“Networked Ground Source Heat Pumps offer a 21st-century, renewable equivalent to the gas grid. In the street, homes connect to pipes circulating non-flammable refrigerant providing heat from the ground. The infrastructure is paid for, owned and maintained by utility companies, and consumers pay a small monthly connection fee, like with gas today. Households have an innovative microwave-sized heat pump in a cupboard that provides hot water and heating. 

“We need a diverse range of solutions to deliver net zero, and as the Government suggests, hydrogen has a part to play in the industrial sectors and backup power generation, whereas Networked Ground Source Heat Pumps have a proven solution to decarbonising home heating now.”