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could we replace natural gas with hydrogen?

The UK has had some success in decarbonising the electricity sector.  But the gas we use for heating and cooking in homes and businesses poses a different problem.

Hydrogen offers a potential solution as it burns cleanly with only water vapour as a by-product.  BEIS have asked the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and other professional engineering organisations to assess the benefits, risks and uncertainties of hydrogen.  Is it a viable green fuel?  Can enough of it be produced at scale, since we don’t have access to natural deposits?  Can it be made safe?  Is it possible to overhaul existing boilers to burn hydrogen instead of natural gas?  And what would conversion mean for meeting the UK’s GHG targets?

The IET’s new report, ‘Transitioning to hydrogen – Assessing the engineering risk and uncertainties’, examines these questions.  Five of the authors came to the SMC to explain the report.



Jenifer Baxter, Head of Engineering at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Andy Brown, Clean Energy Special Interest Group Member, Institution of Chemical Engineers

Dr Stuart Hawksworth, Head of Strategic Development at the Health and Safety Laboratory & President of the International Association for Hydrogen Safety

Ian McCluskey, Head of Technical Services and Policy at the Institution of Gas Engineers & Managers

Robert Sansom, Energy Policy Panel, Institution of Engineering and Technology

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