‘Green hydrogen three times as expensive as heat pumps’

Heat pumps are the viable option to decarbonising homes, researchers claim

Big Zero Report 2023

Using a green hydrogen heating system would be three times more expensive than electric heat pumps in the UK and Europe.

That’s according to research by ETH Zürich, stating that producing hydrogen with renewable electricity would not provide a cheap replacement for gas.

Since residential heating accounts for close to 13% of Europe and the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, changing the way homes are heated is deemed critical by governments to achieve net zero targets.

Cost and ease of implementation was explored by the researchers in 13 different scenarios – looking to decarbonise heat in 27 European countries by 2040.

They explained that green hydrogen would be too expensive to heat homes, as around five or six times more wind and solar capacity would be needed to create the required amount of the green gas.

The study reveals that just 0.04% of the hydrogen currently produced is green – and with other sectors also relying on the gas to decarbonise, the demand would be too high considering the available infrastructure if the demand was shifted onto household heating.

In addition to building the new infrastructure needed to make the hydrogen, the cost of production and storage would also make it more expensive than heat pumps.

The study states that a scenario that uses purely green hydrogen to heat homes would be “two to three times more expensive” than just using electric heat pumps.

Blue hydrogen has also been touted as an option – but with this being made with gas and carbon capture, the researchers state it is not viable from an environmental standpoint or a cost one; as the price of natural gas continues to rise.

To tick both boxes of cost efficiency and low emissions, the researchers declare that heat pumps are the way to go.

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