• Paul Browning

Hydrogen Homes Thrive Eco Schools Meeting




Alex Brightman, the Hydrogen Homes Liaison Officer from the Northern Gas Network (NGN) was our very special guest at the Eco Schools meeting this afternoon. As Alex is based in Gateshead, today's meeting was done remotely. She explained how NGN covers a huge area spanning from Berwick-Upon-Tweed, over to the Lake District, down to Bradford and then Hull and the East Coast. Our students were told how Hydrogen burns with an orange flame, as opposed to the blue flames of Natural Gas. As well as working on developing homes that use 100% hydrogen, they are currently looking at Hydroploy, which is a blend of hydrogen and natural gas, using existing piping and appliances (in fact, our natural gas appliances can still operate on a 20% hyrdogen blend) . This would reduce carbon emissions by 7%. This may not sound very much but it would make a substantial cut in carbon emissions across the country.

In Gateshead, NGN are building a Customer Energy Village, which will be a centre of excellence.They are building different types of homes from different periods of the twentieth century to show how these may be converted to hydrogen homes. It's not just about building new homes which use hydrogen.

Our Eco Committee pupils asked some great questions such as does Hyrdogen cost more than natural gas? At the moment, it does cost a little more but, as demand increases, it will become cheaper. They asked how Hydrogen is made. Alex explained that 'Green Hydrogen' is produced via green energy (solar, wind, hydro); 'Blue Hydrogen' is made by splitting natural gas at high temperature and 'Pink Hydrogen' comes from Nuclear Power.

Someone asked whether solar power or hydrogen would be most efficient in homes. The answer was that a combination of both would be good.

As well as their Hydrogen Homes, NGN are involved with the H21 project, which looks at the safety side of using Hydrogen Homes. They are exploring leakage rates in pipes as well as protection against explosions.

Hydrogen can be stored in big tanks or underwater caves.

Bids are now being submitted by the gas network regions in the UK to have a Hydrogen Village of 2000 homes in each of their areas by 2025 and a Hydrogen Town of 10000 homes by 2030. This is all in an effort to reach the UK target of Net Zero

Alex finished by talking about careers in Hydrogen Homes and other Green Energy industries. This gave the children a really good insight in jobs that they might move into when they have left school, college or university.

We are indepted to Alex Brightman for a wonderful afternoon.