Rotterdam to heat houses with hydrogen
The Rotterdam district of Rozenburg is starting a trial to heat houses with hydrogen. Stedin, the network operator for gas and electricity in South Holland, announced this on Thursday. It is the first time that houses are heated directly with hydrogen.
No CO2 at all
Houses are now often heated with natural gas. This releases greenhouse gas CO2. The combustion of hydrogen does not release CO2, which is why experts believe that this technology can help reduce CO2 emissions to achieve the agreed climate targets.
The network operators want to gain experience with the use of hydrogen in the coming years. The trial in Rozenburg should also show how residents experience the other way of heating.
From green electricity
The hydrogen is produced in Rozenburg from green electricity and transported via Stedin’s separate gas network to the 25 apartments participating in the trial. Two special boilers suitable for hydrogen will be installed in the boiler house of the complex. The two boilers can heat part of the complex. That is why the large central heating boiler that is now used to heat the apartments will stay in operation.
Transition is relatively easy
According to Netbeheer Nederland, network operators can relatively easy make the gas network suitable for the distribution of hydrogen. Adjustments needed for hydrogen include the installation of a new central heating boiler, or preferably a hybrid heat pump suitable for hydrogen, and new gas meters. Safety measures are also required, such as giving hydrogen a recognizable odour.
It is still unclear whether hydrogen, according to some, the missing link in the energy transition, really has a future. The use of hydrogen in the building environment seems to have a lot of potential, but it still needs further research because no large-scale experience has yet been gained with the production, distribution and use of hydrogen.
Dutch gas reserves are running out
In the future, hydrogen can in any case be a valuable addition to domestic gas heating and consumption. Dutch gas reserves are running out and the government has decided to phase out the export and then stop pumping it up completely by 2030.
Belgium must also prepare for a switch from Dutch natural gas to natural gas from other sources (high calorific gas or H-gas). Both high-calorific and low-calorific gas is currently offered in the Belgian natural gas network. Most low-calorific L-gas is supplied from the Netherlands, while high-calorific H-gas is generally imported from Norway, the United Kingdom, Qatar and Russia.
Because the gas reserves in the Netherlands are decreasing and the Netherlands will export less and will stop exporting, the Belgian natural gas network is now being converted so that in due course the entire Belgian gas network will be highly calorific.
Hydrogen is the new natural gas
Low-calorific gas produces less energy because L-gas contains less energy-rich methane (plus minus 10% difference). L-gas also consists partly of the heavier nitrogen. As a result, the more expensive high calorific natural gas is lighter than low calorific gas. High calorific gas pipelines are better suited to convert for hydrogen in the future, experts say.
Of the fossil fuels, natural gas is one of the cleanest, but hydrogen is seen as the new natural gas because the combustion of hydrogen thus produces no CO2 at all.