Most households in the UK would be happy to use hydrogen as a domestic fuel, believing it would have a positive environmental impact, but their main concern is the cost in doing so, according to a survey conducted by researchers at Newcastle University.
From the early 19th century until the late 1970s, hydrogen gas was extensively used as an energy source for lighting and heating, until it was replaced by natural gas.
However, according to researchers at Newcastle University, as the country moves towards a low-carbon economy, hydrogen will increasingly play a key role in transitioning the UK’s energy supply away from fossil fuels.
Hydrogen-powered transport is already growing in support, with hydrogen-fueled taxis already on the roads in London and with plans currently underway to convert trains from diesel to hydrogen fuel.
In a survey amongst the general public, the researchers found that 87% of people were willing to use hydrogen in their homes, with 70% of respondents believing that it would have a positive effect on the environment.
The main cause for concern in the switch to hydrogen was the added costs.
Newcastle University’s research team is now calling for greater public involvement in discussions about the benefits and costs of using blended hydrogen in order to build awareness and acceptance of it being used in homes.
Dr Matthew Scott, a research associate at Newcastle University said: ‘Although cost was the most significant individual objection, overall most people did not reject the idea of hydrogen as a fuel for their home.
‘While full conversion is realistically still some time away, our research shows that there is an appetite for small amounts of zero-carbon hydrogen to be safely blended with existing domestic gas supplies.’
Mark Horsley, chief executive for Northern Gas Networks said: ‘Hydrogen has a key role to play in a low carbon energy future, and understanding public perceptions of hydrogen is crucial to customer acceptance of the technology, and its ability to make a positive difference to climate change.
‘Research helps us to further understand the key issues and challenges customers need us to address around hydrogen, while work continues to deliver the evidence base supporting its role in decarbonising heat.’
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