As energy bills continue to skyrocket along with soaring global gas prices, the UK is scrambling to find alternative energy sources to power homes and the economy.
Hydrogen, which has been pinpointed as one of these alternatives, is produced by using electricity from renewable power to split water into hydrogen and oxygen molecules. Up to 2,000 properties in Cheshire could heat their homes using this process in the country’s first “hydrogen village”.
Ellesmere Port in Cheshire is one of two shortlisted locations hoping to see the first hydrogen project of this scale welcomed to its town.
If it is picked, every property in the selected area within Whitby will have new hydrogen-ready boilers installed for free.
This would mean these households would be able to stop using natural gas for heating and cooking, shielding them from surging energy costs.
Another area in the north-east of England has also been shortlisted.
Around 2,000 homes and business in Redcar would use hydrogen produced in Teesside to help the town generating its own hydrogen locally from renewable sources.
The proposal was put forward by gas distribution network Cadent and British Gas.
Approval for the projects is set to be given in 2023 and should come online in 2025 as part of a two-year trial.
Science Minister George Freeman tweeted: “Hydrogen is a fundamental part of our clean energy revolution and a key future fuel. “
And he said in Westminster Hall during a debate on the potential for the hydrogen villages: “We do want to make sure that these trials lay the foundation for wider nationwide roll-out.
“The aim isn’t to have one or two world-class trials, that aim is to prove what it is need have to do to roll-out hydrogen at industrial scale across this country as part of our net zero targets.”
Last week, it announced a £60million competition to support innovation in the supply of hydrogen, helping to make the new super-fuel more viable.
The HySupply 2 competition looks to position Britain as global leader in this emerging industry, boosting long-term growth and helping produce more clean, affordable, homegrown energy.
The Government has already awarded funding to 28 projects across the UK, including Scotland, Wales and the north of England, which they believe will accelerate an industry expected to create around 12,000 jobs.