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Heat Pumps v Hydrogen: (Scalded Or Burned!!)

January 3, 2022

By Paul Homewood

 

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The energy study also revealed that hydrogen-fuelled boilers "will never be a cost-effective option". According to Bloomberg, the average annual running cost for a heat pump stands at £743, compared to £2,784 for a hydrogen boiler.

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The Government has produced a landmark green scheme to provide families with a £5,000 grant to buy electric heat pumps for their homes.

But, in a poll of 5,605 Express.co.uk readers, held from December 24 to 30, a staggering 90 percent of voters said they would not buy a heat pump in the next five years, while six percent said they would, and four percent were undecided.

Many readers disagreed with the research produced by The European Consumer Organisation, and insisted heat pumps are a poor energy source.

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/money/other/not-heat-pumps-furious-backlash-at-european-study-on-cost-effective-energy-sources/ar-AAShtV0

 

The study referred to comes from the European Consumer Organisation. Although it says that heat pumps are the cheapest “green option”, they are coy about how much dearer they are than gas boilers!

 

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https://www.beuc.eu/publications/goodbye-gas-heat-pumps-will-be-cheapest-green-heating-option-consumers/html

It is based on four European countries, but below is the analysis for Czech Republic, which is probably the most comparable to the UK:

 

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1758 euro equals £1465, which looks on the side, but is based on a pre-1970 home, which will no doubt be hugely energy inefficient. Presumably Czech winters will be much colder too!

We can untangle it by looking at the heat demand, which is based on 22615 KWh/yr. Given that a gas boiler works at 85% efficiency, this implies gas usage of 26605 KWh:

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The average UK home uses about 15000 KWh, I believe, meaning heat demand of 12750 KWh. We can therefore infer heat pump electricity consumption of 5013 KWh – ie an efficiency factor of 2.54.

The costings seem to be based on energy prices as they were before recent rises; for instance, electricity at 184 Euro/MWh. At this level, the heat pump running cost for our average UK home would be £767 a year (close to that Bloomberg figure). However, based on 2020 gas prices of 2.5p/KWh, a gas boiler would only cost £375 a year to run.

This is broadly in line with my calculations in the last year or two.

By the way, despite the rise in gas prices, heat pumps still remain £406 more expensive to run , because electricity prices have also risen in tandem.

But what really took my eye was the cost of running a hydrogen boiler. The above example reckons 4289 Euro, but we can reduce this in line with lower heat demand. Hydrogen consumption should in theory be the same as gas in our UK example, 15000 KWh.

According to the study, the cost of hydrogen is 147 Euro/MWh, or £122. (This assumes electrolysis).  This of course is more than four times the cost of natural gas, meaning annual bills would rise from £375 to £1830.

This is something which I have been highlighting for years, but most people are still blissfully unaware of it.

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Finally, last year Andrew Montford published a factsheet on hydrogen, which concluded that green hydrogen would cost £190/MWh. If he is right, heating bills will rise much higher still.

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53 Comments
  1. Realist permalink
    January 3, 2022 6:20 pm

    Not only for that “poll of express readers”, but why do we never hear about such polls until after the fact? Is there an e-mail mailing list that posts actually active polls?

  2. Curious George permalink
    January 3, 2022 6:31 pm

    What is a “hydrogen boiler”, and who uses it?

    • January 3, 2022 6:57 pm

      It’s basically the same as a gas boiler, but adapted to burn hydrogen

      • Curious George permalink
        January 3, 2022 9:28 pm

        Does it produce nitrogen oxides?

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      January 3, 2022 11:39 pm

      “Does it produce nitrogen oxides?” Hi Curious have a read ( if you can suffer such a long rant) of my post below.

      • Curious George permalink
        January 4, 2022 12:54 am

        Ray, thanks. Very educational. Happy New Year.

  3. st3ve permalink
    January 3, 2022 6:33 pm

    Not for the first (or last!), a piece declares ” look how expensive hydrogen is”,-compared to a heat pump, with no comparison to a Nat gas system.

    A sure sign that heat pumps can’t hack it vs gas boilers.

    See also this from BEIS (couple thrilled with their (?free) heat pump!

    • st3ve permalink
      January 3, 2022 6:36 pm

      Whoops….
      Heat pump case studyhttps___esc-production-2021.s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com_2021_12_ASHP-Case-Study-03_prf06

      • 1saveenergy permalink
        January 3, 2022 7:45 pm

        Cant find anything !!
        have you got a better link please ?

  4. Athelstan. permalink
    January 3, 2022 6:44 pm

    I think Gamecock (previous thread) really nails it, quote, “Doesn’t matter. No need to worry about the hidden cost when the visible cost is existential. You WON’T HAVE A JOB.”

    All else then becomes moot but the possibility “no jobs” is perhaps the desired outcome, we are talking fanatical green agenda and it’s nothing whatsoever to do with saving the planet.

    Things might change, they need to.

    imo, the next few months will precipitate a profound change in Britons perceptions, even if we manage to reach the spring without a major outage. The real eyeball popper, when the idiot exchequer raises taxes added to the energy utility bills dropping on the doormat, it will focus minds, it might remove a government, hopefully.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      January 4, 2022 9:37 am

      We have a government and opposition that both believe that increasing costs and decreasing productivity somehow won’t decrease employment and the pay you get if you are employed. Where there is some dim understanding it might, they believe Green jobs will solve the problem, despite the obvious economic fact that they are costs and thus MUST exacerbate the problem.

      And all of this will lead to lower tax take without tax rises. Which would then lead to lower consumption elsewhere and thus job losses. Most politicians have either no clue about economics (Tories) or belief in a minority debunked economics (the Left). That is causing us great damage.

  5. SUSAN EWENS permalink
    January 3, 2022 7:17 pm

    “Remove a government, hopefully”

    WHY?. When there is no electable party with an alternative energy policy, YET.

    • Athelstan. permalink
      January 4, 2022 6:37 am

      pour encourager les autres.

      NB, the sheeple need to get real on the political claque and do the other thing, stop paying, stop complying.

      • January 4, 2022 8:24 am

        -10 for use of the childish and patronising word “sheeple” for people that don’t see things our way

      • Athelstan. permalink
        January 4, 2022 9:04 am

        There’s none so blind as those whom refuse to see. btw………thanks for your input dave.

    • January 5, 2022 8:02 am

      Susan,

      there exists such a party, the Heritage party, but it has a tiny following. They have the right ideas though.

  6. Andrew Harding permalink
    January 3, 2022 7:18 pm

    Hydrogen, is highly explosive and is the smallest molecule out of all the elements, so it will have a tendency to leak. It is colourless and odourless, so will need additives that have an odour.

    When hydrogen burns the waste product is water vapour, which will make furniture and carpets damp and encourage growth of mould, Gas cookers will need new burners in a similar switchover from Town Gas to Natural Gas.

    I don’t think this will go well?

    • Coeur de Lion permalink
      January 3, 2022 8:29 pm

      Hindenburg

  7. January 3, 2022 7:32 pm

    My gas boiler says it is 92% efficient, not 85%.
    Energy from wind and solar would be best used producing hydrogen instead of grid electricity. That way the intermittency can be buffered by maintaining a stock of hydrogen. That hydrogen would then be best used in fuel cell vehicles, 60% efficient with refuelling time and operating range comparable to what we are used to.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      January 3, 2022 7:39 pm

      If you wanted to build a system to produce H from electricity you would be mad to choose the most expensive, unreliable, and least available version going.

      • January 3, 2022 8:34 pm

        It’s there already so we may as well use it for something useful.

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        January 3, 2022 8:38 pm

        As it’s already so expensive we may as well get rid of it now. By your reckoning, as petrol/diesel cars are already there we might as well use them instead of electric cars. Wind/Solar to H is not economical.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      January 3, 2022 8:09 pm

      Real world economics of intermittent hydrogen production are somewhat different. In reality you are looking at periods when there is a surplus, since otherwise if you divert renewables to electrolysis you have to run something else to meet demand, so the real cost is for the something else, including the cost of having it idle much of the time. The height of stupidity would be to use hydrogen fired generators to make more hydrogen – you would net destroy hydrogen doing so. The extent of surplus is itself highly variable: it would never be economic to exploit all the surplus. See this chart:

      https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/nZM72/1/

      Also have a read of the evaluation of the REFHYNE project at Shell’s Wesseling refinery, which looks at electrolyser economics and also comments on costs for distribution as motor fuel, which are substantial. Of course, it was put together before the present price rises, but the economics look no prettier now.

      Click to access D7.2-report-v7.0-clean.pdf

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      January 3, 2022 11:48 pm

      The thing is that the £10 billion plus annual subsidies currently being paid by consumers through their bills could in fact fully fund 5 Rolls Royce 470MW each and every year. Just get rid of the wind farms and you have a lower carbon emissions with reliable electricity. The last ten years of renewable subsidies would likely have given us 25GW of 92% capacity factor nuclear all bought and paid for.

  8. GeoffB permalink
    January 3, 2022 7:32 pm

    The heat pump trial (2 years) in Newcastle is due to report in March this year. They had 250 to install free, but you pay for the electricity. Info is scarce on how it is going. Watch this space.

  9. Harry Passfield permalink
    January 3, 2022 7:36 pm

    So, the PTB have managed to get H to be the same price as electricity: 19p/kWh.
    But of course, that’s just the cost of H. But, by the time it’s been used in an equivalent gas boiler it would be many times the price.
    I get the feeling they’re trying to get equivalence between gas and electric costs so that ASHPs will seem as cheap. My God! The modus of government (actually, of their advisers, who generally turn out to be Green placemen).

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      January 4, 2022 12:05 am

      Harry I have alluded to this before but now I have retired I can be a little bit more open. I worked as a self employed contractor on many energy infrastructure projects. In the last two decades the controlling management changed from being practical, experienced and almost hyper knowledgeable to young graduate management trainees who were often as thick as shit and didn’t even realise it! “Policy” (and a sharp suit) was everything regardless of outcomes.
      I am not 66 until June (the Brexit referendum was a sideshow on to my 60th party!) but just before Christmas I decided enough was enough. My colleagues and I had recommended urgent remedial action to various problems at one site but these were deemed by one manager to not be “policy”. A major and still ongoing (national newsworthy ) event ensued. Miraculously the management exonerated itself and guess where they tried to lay blame. So we all walked out and the issue will likely take a year to resolve at huge expense due to letting idiots in charge.
      Things are getting progressively worse and I struggle to see when the pendulum will swing back.

      • Crowcatcher permalink
        January 4, 2022 7:57 am

        Exactly my experience as an engineer.
        When I retired I was replaced by youngsters who didn’t know which end of a screwdriver to use!
        I don’t believe the tide will ever turn – all part of Britain’s decline.

      • Dick Goodwin permalink
        January 7, 2022 9:25 am

        Hi Ray, am I correct in the fact that the grid cannot handle more than 30% unsynchronised (renewable) electricity without affecting the frequency which can’t be corrected at this rate. Thanks in advance.

  10. Terence Carlin permalink
    January 3, 2022 7:55 pm

    so lets take the cost of the most expensive means of producing hydrogen ( hydrolysing water ) and compare that cost to the cost of an air source pump but lets ignore the cost reportedly £15000 to replace radiators , double/ triple glazing and insulation which amortised over 15 years adds a further £1400 to £1,600 per annum and while we are at it lets ignore what will happen to the price of domestic energy supply if everything is dependent on electricity supply

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      January 4, 2022 12:10 am

      Hi Terence, I perfectly understand your meaning but it is worth being careful with your terminology. The term for water splitting is “Electrolysis”. The term “Hydrolysis” is completely different – using Hydrolysis or hydrolysing suggests splitting water by watering it down!
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrolysis

  11. John Peter permalink
    January 3, 2022 7:56 pm

    What good is a heat pump here in Scotland when temperatures drop well below zero?
    Might heat the house to five degrees, but needs to be kept for 24 hours a day. Price differences do not matter if the pump cannot heat the house and auxiliary means need to be employed such as electric heaters. Problem is heat pumps cannot keep us warm in most of the UK during winter half year.

  12. cookers52 permalink
    January 3, 2022 8:43 pm

    Oldies like me remember the time before efficient gas boilers and hot water radiator central heating. Natural gas supply was a bringer of warmth to our lives.

    We used to heat our homes with open coal fires in a few rooms and sometimes open gas fires. Most of the winter we were cold, if my memory is correct, ice on the inside of Windows etc.

    Now unnoticed by most people National Grid are scaling down investment in the gas supply infrastructure, pipeline and pipework network replacement and maintenance is not being planned. Storage abandoned.

    The current government net zero policy plan requires a rapid massive investment programme in the electricity supply network, but this isn’t happening either, instead we have a futile smart meter roll out that isn’t going anywhere.

    Not sure where we are going, but a nice warm coat might be handy.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      January 4, 2022 12:41 pm

      Forget ice on the windows, I remember waking up one morning in early 1963 with a terrible pain in my nose. When I rubbed it all the frozen snot cracked! No joke it was incredibly painful. I ran downstairs and my mum warmed my nose and face concerned I had frostbite.

  13. In The Real World permalink
    January 3, 2022 9:00 pm

    In 2016 a government committee dropped the idea of electric home heating , [ heat pumps ], as it would need an extra 400% of generation capacity for the country .

    Can,t find the link at the moment as it seems to have been hidden away .
    But it is insane to try to push the heat pump idea again when it was stated that it could not possibly work without a massive increase in power station building .

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        January 4, 2022 12:27 am

        I don’t want to bang on about this too much but that report specifically mentions the problems that large inductive loads (heat pumps and EV chargers) cause to the grid. I have never before seen that point emphasized in government reports and it is usually “swept under the carpet”
        Resistive loads (reducing due to deindustrialisation) have little and easily allowed for effects on the balance between real power and the massively all important reactive power. Whereas inductive loads really cause problems and renewables exacerbate this as they do not effectively control it. Most massive power outages are caused by reactive power imbalances. You may have noticed I often comment on here about the possibility of co-ordinated action to collapse the grid (nothing like as difficult a problem as many think) and it is principally causing reactive power imbalance that will do it.
        This is a good explainer from Drax who do at least offer informative web pages
        https://www.drax.com/power-generation/silent-force-moves-electricity/

    • Sobaken permalink
      January 3, 2022 10:47 pm

      I doubt it’s as high as 400%, even 200 GW of peak heat demand would only add 80 GW of peak electric demand due to “efficiency” of heat pumps. So it’s a 200% increase on the current 40 GW of gas power.
      The problem is that this generation would have a low capacity factor, as it would only be fully used during the winter. And if the power is to be provided with wind turbines + gas backup, then the CF of gas power would be even lower, and wind farms would have to be constrained during the summer as well.
      This is of course normal for infrastructure that is designed specifically for the purpose of heating, after all the boilers are also only used half the year. But heat pumps and power generation are much more expensive than boilers, and the cost of them idling and producing nothing valuable is higher.
      All those costs would have to be paid for by someone, so it probably means increased electricity price, and by extension increased running costs of heat pumps.
      By the way, simply replacing gas boilers with heat pumps does not even reduce the amount of gas burnt. While heat pumps may be 280% efficient, gas power plants are only 40% efficient, and another 10% will be lost in transmission in distribution, so the amount of gas required by heat pumps in a 100% gas power grid is the same as with boilers. You’d absolutely need to expand no-emission generators, if the goal was reducing gas consumption and emissions. And that is more expensive than gas, so the running cost of heat pumps will always be higher than boilers.

      • In The Real World permalink
        January 4, 2022 5:41 pm

        Sobaken , in the original report , [ which Paul managed to find], https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2019/02/22/why-lord-oxburgh-ruled-out-electrification-of-heat/
        you might note that the extra demand on the grid for Winter Electric heating , is shown as 200GWh.
        This is 4 times the current dispatchable energy output , [ or 400% increase ]., and that is working on the measurements for heat pump type use .

      • January 5, 2022 8:06 am

        Susan,

        there exists such a party, the Heritage party, but it has a tiny following. They have the right ideas though.

      • dave permalink
        January 5, 2022 11:12 am

        To be exact, going from 50 to 200 is a 300% increase:

        100 x [(200-50) / 50] %

        400% or 300% – still utterly ridiculous notion.

  14. Mike Jackson permalink
    January 3, 2022 9:41 pm

    The British public are slowly starting to wake up to what is in store for them if the eco-fascists get their way. Since a change of government would only make matters worse, barring some unlikely epiphany in the Labour party, the pressure needs to be applied to this government which means — somehow — getting the Tories in the Conservative party to understand a bit of basic science and realise the extent to which those some eco-fascists have been lying to us for years!
    Don’t ask me how but I’m happy to help if anyone comes up with any bright ideas!

  15. Ray Sanders permalink
    January 3, 2022 10:39 pm

    Excuse a long post but a few facts need airing. Firstly to bust a myth “burning hydrogen only produces water vapour”. Complete b0ll0cks. Burning H2 in pure O2 can only produce H2O BUT that is NOT what is being proposed. Burning H2 in AIR (which is 79% Nitrogen) has to be very carefully controlled indeed. otherwise the flame temperature in the surrounding area is way above the point where N2 combines with O2 and produces genuinely very nasty NOx. This detailed article explains the problem.
    https://www.thechemicalengineer.com/features/hydrogen-the-burning-question/
    The take away point is that the flame has to be much more closely controlled than when burning methane. Now stop and consider how many current CH4 ignition points there are – hobs, ovens, gas fires etc as well as CH boilers. There are probably well over 100 million domestic points alone. – I personally have nine. (5 hobs, 2 ovens,1 gas phoney wood burner and 1 central heating boiler.
    I very seriously doubt that a testing and maintenance regime can be accurate enough and as stringently regulated to control the inevitable NOx emissions…VW diesels anyone? I have 3 rental properties requiring annual “Gas Safe” certification, but how many home owners actually get their hobs, oven etc regularly checked? A near neighbour complained to me about the cost of having her boiler serviced for the first time since she moved in SEVEN years ago!
    Now a bit about energy density. H2 has roughly triple the energy density of CH4 by MASS. But that is largely irrelevant considering it is shipped by VOLUME and by that measure has only a Third of the energy density. Whilst it is lighter and flows much faster and largely makes up for that at point of consumption, it has been estimated to reduce the transmission grid holding capacity (Linepack) by 75%. Given we already have limited storage facilities, Hydrogen requires a four fold increase just to stand still on overall energy capacity.
    But that is only part of the story….the hydrogen gas to be produced all year round to go into storage for winter use in space heating. Another thing to remember is a home that uses 15,000kWh of gas per annum will probably use 10,000kWh in a little over 3 cold winter months and for 5 months in late spring, summer and early autumn will likely only use under 2000kWh.
    At present this demand can be met by pumping from the North Sea or whistling up a few LNG tankers (i.e storage means) but you simply cannot do that with intermittently run electricity.
    Poster “It Doesn’t Add UP” has done some very good detailed figures published on here so I refer to those rather than repeat them. He/she clearly demonstrates the impracticality (a euphemism) of deploying electrolysers from intermittent supplies. There is an outside choice of dedicating Gen 4 Nuclear reactors for continuous either High Temperature Electrolysis or even Thermolysis but really why would you bother when it easier just to go down the generation route.
    I shall post now and then ramble on some more in a reply to myself. (I’ve da0mn well gone down with Covid straight on retiring and got nothing better to do lying in bed!

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      January 3, 2022 11:15 pm

      Continuing with the Gas transmission grid, it is now not remotely like the old days of localized, low pressure “Town” gas. This was a much inferior product mix and highly unregulated by modern standards. In those days providing it didn’t leak, explode or produce CO nobody really paid any significant attention to CO2, NOx or SOx etc. Very few homes had central heating (of any description) compared to now.

      The modern transmission grid operates at pressures up to 70Bar with high purity CH4. Pressure is reduced to for distribution by expansion. All gases (well nearly all) cool down on expansion which is how the vapour compression refrigeration/ heat pump cycle works. The bugger is that the exception to the “Joule Thomson Effect” rule is hydrogen which heats up on expansion. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joule–Thomson_effect
      It really is not a good thing having combustion materials heating up in specific hot spots.
      Add to that not all hydrogen is the same. It exists in two specific “Spin Isomers” Ortho and Para which are in different energetic states.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spin_isomers_of_hydrogen
      Electrolysis (rather than other means of hydrogen production) tends to produce hydrogen not in its normal equilibrium and over time (and particularly pressure and temperature change) reverts to its balance…releasing more heat exactly where it is most undesirable. Temperature regulation will have to seriously monitored which it simply Is not now

      I doubt I need to go on about leakages as most posters on here will be well aware of the difficulties or avoiding them from such a small particle particularly the final point of distribution i.e. your home. However, another potentially overlooked problem is odorization. You can’t smell hydrogen neither can you smell CH4 so in the latter case it is “scented” with products known as Mercaptans which positively stink. It is still not confirmed that hydrogen can be effectively odorized over time and transmission as hydrogen readily separates from just about everything which could well lead to shedding of odorant and unscented and invisible leaks.

      I shall leave it at that for now though there are multiple other issues with hydrogen. I will though address the obvious point that surely those “in charge” are well aware of these and other problems and will allow for them. To which all I can say is that it now appears that ideology applied by a small number of inexperienced and underqualified politically motivated people trumps everything else. As I said in my previous tome…VW emissions anyone?

      • Mike Jackson permalink
        January 4, 2022 8:35 am

        This should be part of a comprehensive seminar for all MPs and relevant civil servants.
        I am all in favour of new efficient affordable technology but that does not stretch to replacing largely safe (nothing is 100%) old efficient affordable gas with an equally old largely dangerous and less controllable and considerably less affordable alternative.
        In a nutshell hydrogen as a fuel under the control of the average householder is infinitely more dangerous to his well-being and that of his neighbours than carbon dioxide ever was or can ever be.
        The trouble with our environmental activists is that they don’t have a scientific cell in their bodies. They are dreamers who assume, like all dreamers, that the rest of us will find a way to make their dreams come true and only when they have bullied or inveigled us too far along that way will they discover the dream is a nightmare.
        At which point, guess what! We get the blame for not doing it right!

  16. January 3, 2022 11:41 pm

    https://www.theborneopost.com/2022/01/02/china-to-scrap-subsidies-for-electric-vehicles/

    On Tue, Jan 4, 2022, 02:07 NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT wrote:

    > Paul Homewood posted: “By Paul Homewood The energy study also revealed > that hydrogen-fuelled boilers “will never be a cost-effective option”. > According to Bloomberg, the average annual running cost for a heat pump > stands at £743, compared to £2,784 fo” >

  17. europeanonion permalink
    January 4, 2022 9:13 am

    When such things are discussed the government invariably comes back with the same stuff that Russia used to end the ‘Prague Spring’. Using its eco warriors, the government seems to think it can insinuate that ‘the people’ want these new technologies and that we are being held back by nut jobs, climate change deniers (a complete inversion of the truth) to delay ‘progress’. Using eco warriors as the voice of freedom from tyranny on the Czechoslovakia model, the Russian troops were invited into that country to wrest it from the fantasists and criminal nut jobs that were threatening authority and jeopardising the State. The blob rules the roost as they represent as a cross section of ordinary people who have seen the light (and then probably only on days when the wind is blowing).

  18. Harry Passfield permalink
    January 4, 2022 10:42 am

    A belated HNY to all on here. Most especially, if the standard of input on this one thread is anything to go by 2022 is going to be a great year for Paul and his effort with the blog. I live in hope that some of the wisdom and intelligence displayed here will trickle down into a few of our MPs. More especially, it might just prompt some to challenge the Eco-meme that NZC trumps everything, including cost and welfare. If that results in a few green heads in the CS being removed it will be a good thing.

  19. dennisambler permalink
    January 4, 2022 12:25 pm

    In the earnest zeal for heat pumps, the consequences have not been considered especially in the case of vertical ground source systems:

    https://geothermal-energy-journal.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40517-017-0067-y

    “Despite the advantages, installation and usage of vertical GSHP systems entail certain risks such as:

    Change in hydraulic, geophysical, and geochemical parameters caused by the hydraulic connection of separate aquifers.
    Soil settlements or dried-up wells due to falling groundwater levels
    Destabilising effect of ascending groundwater flows on the backfilling
    Flooding of adjacent buildings and infrastructure by artesian discharge.
    Swelling or subrosion processes of sulphate- and salt-bearing layers, leading to subsidence or ground uplifts.
    The formation of sinkholes or the loss of drilling equipment in karst areas
    Creation of new migration pathways for physical and chemical contaminants, such as organic anti-freeze liquids, diffusing chemicals in the backfilling material or contaminated drilling fluids
    Potential hazards for drilling teams and residents due to near-subsurface gas reservoirs
    High pollution vulnerability of groundwater in the area around contaminated sites.”

    Potentially thousands of holes, 100 metres deep, drilled around the country, but ban fracking.

    Precautionary Principle? That’s only for when you want to stop something that works…

    • January 4, 2022 1:14 pm

      Good point about the drilling: some homes are built on reclaimed industrial sites where they have removed the top layer of soil, covered the lower layers with a membrane, then placed new topsoil on top of that. Drilling through that membrane could be a bad idea.

  20. Jack Broughton permalink
    January 4, 2022 2:56 pm

    A comment to Ray Sanders: the leakage of hydrogen, when produced at larger scale, also poses a threat to the ozone layer as hydrogen rises rapidly through the atmosphere (unlike methane) and the photochemical reaction with ozone is very rapid. There were some publications about this about 10 years ago, I can provide copies if anyone wants them.

    PS, I hope that the Covid is not too severe.

  21. Ray Sanders permalink
    January 4, 2022 7:15 pm

    Hi Jack, thanks for your concern. Yes both my wife and I went down with it simultaneously early New Years Eve but seem to be over the worst now – cough is now subsiding but ribs still ache from so much of it)
    I did not want to go too much in my posts but the issue of Ozone depletion…..tell me about it.
    BEIS did a whitewash….erm sorry “study” on it recently and amazingly came to he conclusion that 1% leakage would have negligible effect. This was despite them conceding that there allegedly wasn’t really any firm data on the subject. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/760538/Hydrogen_atmospheric_impact_report.pdf
    If you can supply any links to your info it would be appreciated.
    My understanding on this issue is that whilst leaks can occur anywhere in the system the dissipation of multiple small leaks of hydrogen has minimal effect on ozone. However, more concentrated leaks (e.g. at decompression points) rise rapidly as concentrated plumes and can cause major ozone damage. In effect I suspect that the BEIS 1% general loss is a figure to hide behind as an overall target whilst quite likely knowing that a smaller loss but more concentrated is a problem.
    Regards Ray

  22. January 5, 2022 11:28 am

    And of course, the energy RoI of hydrogen is only ~30%, i.e. ~70% of the input energy to create it is wasted.

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