Can we use the gas pipes to transport clean hydrogen?

Is there a way to heat our homes without using fossil fuels? One idea is to use hydrogen as a heating source. Hydrogen can be created cleanly using solar power; actually, it’s a way to store solar energy when the sun isn’t shining. And we could use today’s gas distribution pipes to transport the gas.

Is this idea technically feasible? UK engineers asked this question for the British gas system and found that:

  • Hydrogen can be transported safely in low-pressure gas pipes (like Boston’s).
  • However, the capacity of the system could be reduced.
  • New hydrogen meters and sensors would have to be fitted to every building in a hydrogen conversion program and appliances would have to be converted.
  • Converting the gas networks to hydrogen is a lower-cost residential pathway for cutting carbon emissions than those identified previously (for the UK).

Of course, hydrogen is an explosive gas – remember the Hindenberg. We’d really need to fix the pipes!