Evidence review for hydrogen for heat in buildings

Hydrogen is one of only a handful potential heat decarbonisation routes which offer a mass-market solution.

This project was commissioned to help build a clear evidence base, using existing literature relating to all aspects of the use of hydrogen to heat buildings, including supporting infrastructure and costs. Lessons gained thus far from key projects have been synthesised along with a wide range of evidence sources on aspects such as technical feasibility, safety and costs.

Key lessons 

Across the literature, we identified some Scotland specific strengths and challenges at the system level value chain. These relate to Scotland’s unique position regarding natural resources, skills, and existing infrastructure. They are highlighted in more detail below:

  • Scotland’s strengths include:
    • Good access to large volumes of natural gas, which is required for large-scale production of ‘blue’ hydrogen (methane reformation with carbon capture)
    • Strategic CO2 storage capacity offshore to support carbon capture efforts (depleted hydrocarbon storage sites and aquifers)
    • St Fergus is a key delivery point for gas to the National Transmission System (NTS), which offers country-wide hydrogen-blending opportunities
    • North East Scotland has a wealth of skills, capabilities and infrastructure from the oil and gas sector that can be leveraged to support hydrogen and renewables development
    • High levels of wind curtailment resource for renewable electricity generation, which in turn can be used for ‘green’ zero-carbon hydrogen production via electrolysis
  • Scotland’s challenges:
    • Scotland has limited existing centralised hydrogen storage ‘resources’ (e.g. salt caverns) for intersessional storage. Investments in new infrastructure (above-ground storage facilities) or new solutions (converting hydrogen into ammonia) would be required.