Best hydrogen ready boilers – what are they & how do they work?
The UK government is committed to meeting its carbon neutrality goals. Natural gas is a significant contributor to carbon emissions. Low carbon alternatives like hydrogen will likely replace it in the future.
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Viessmann and Worcester Bosch offer hydrogen-ready boilers that can take 20% hydrogen. You can get the full installation of a hydrogen ready boiler with one of our recommended installers right now from as little as £1,600
A hydrogen-ready boiler has the advantage that it can use natural gas until there is hydrogen gas. This will enable the country to move to a low-carbon alternative in a strategic manner and without any disruption to its home heating. Let’s see which a the best boilers with hydrogen technology
Are hydrogen ready boilers protected from the gas boiler ban in 2025?
Yes, they are.
Although the media have used the term “gas boiler ban” to grab headlines, they will be outlawed in new properties starting in 2025. This does not apply to current housing just brand new builds.
A new gas boiler can be used for the entire life of the boiler if you purchase it today which is usually between10 to 15 years.
Gas boilers will soon be phased out and you can heat your home using one of two methods: a heat pump, or a boiler that uses hydrogen gas (at minimum partially).
However, most UK homes still use gas boilers as their heating source. Many observers don’t believe it is possible to replace them all with heat pumps and solar.
Why are hydrogen ready boilers the best solution?
Hydrogen-ready boilers are therefore considered the best solution. They can be used by existing engineers and infrastructure. Their price will likely stay competitive.
Hydrogen fuel could be a solution to these problems. It takes advantage of existing gas infrastructure that connects to 8 out 10 homes. Many industry experts believe that changing the fuel rather than the heating system is more practical.
The hydrogen produced when it is burned is only vapour, and not carbon dioxide. Therefore, the EAC/CCC are currently examining the feasibility of delivering hydrogen into homes through the gas network.
The Worcester Bosch and Viessmann are currently developing hydrogen boilers and hydrogen-ready boilers. They can use natural gas or hydrogen as their fuel source.
The Hydrogen boilers are almost identical to today’s gas boilers and are installed exactly the same way. They would be connected to gas boilers and have hydrogen or natural gas supplied to them.
These internal components would also be very similar to the gas boilers. There are minor differences, such as the burner and hydrogen-ready flame detector.
Gas Safe Engineers may receive new training on hydrogen gas and installing hydrogen boilers, if and when the gas network switches to hydrogen.
Why is hydrogen the best choice?
Emissions contain zero carbon
All fossil fuels, including oil, coal, and gas, emit carbon dioxide when they are burned. Global warming is caused by this. Hydrogen, on the other side, produces only water and no carbon dioxide.
You can use existing gas infrastructure
Hydrogen has one major advantage: it requires no fuel supply changes, making it much simpler and faster to roll out across the country. This eliminates the need for households to change their heating system, which can be costly and time-consuming.
Hydrogen is more efficient than natural gas
You can heat your home with 1kg of hydrogen and 2.8kg gas, which is equivalent to the energy found in 2.8kg.
Switching over to hydrogen as a fuel
The transition to hydrogen gases is still in progress. Therefore, it is difficult to know when and exactly what dates 100% hydrogen boilers or hydrogen gas will be made available.
It is evident, however, that this will be a gradual transition that will take place over many years.
Good news: Boiler manufacturers have begun to develop prototypes for hydrogen-ready boilers. They have also made it clear that they intend to price them at the same rate as gas boilers.
This is how hydrogen will transition in the next decade.
Stage 1: New generation of hydrogen-ready boilers
New hydrogen-ready boilers from boiler manufacturers will be available that can accept a variety of gases, including hydrogen. These boilers will also be capable of being modified to accept 100% hydrogen. These will be available starting in 2025.
Not to be confused with Worcester Bosch and Viessmann gas boilers, which are hydrogen-ready and can accept a 20/80 hydrogen mixture.
Stage 2: A new hydrogen gas blend will use the existing gas network
There are currently several projects that test the viability and feasibility of using hydrogen gas in existing networks. This will likely be a mixture of hydrogen and other gas at first.
All new Heatable boilers can accept the new 20% blend. The new blend will be introduced using the existing grid after 2028.
Stage 3: All homes will use 100% hydrogen gas boilers
The ultimate goal of every UK home to be equipped with a 100% hydrogen boiler that can accept pure hydrogen gas is the ultimate goal. This is unlikely to happen in the next few decades but you can still get your boiler replacement in confidence.
Global warming can be caused by the emission of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels like natural gas.
These gases can’t escape the atmosphere, but instead stay trapped, which causes the earth’s temperature rise.
Responding to the global climate crisis, the UK government and the largest economies in the world agreed in 2016 to combat global warming by becoming carbon neutral in 2050.
Why do we need to change to a hydrogen ready boiler
Traditional heating methods are still responsible for about a third of the UK’s carbon emissions. However, the government is putting them at the core of its low-carbon agenda. Change is inevitable.
Low carbon heating methods are essential to reaching the targets. This includes technologies like a heat pump, solar, biomass, and the adoption of hydrogen boilers.
Already, residential boilers have been the subject of significant legislation. These include a ban on noncondensing boilers and a ban on all new boilers below 90% efficiency.
What is a hydrogen blend?
Hydrogen blends are when hydrogen is added to existing gas supplies. It would consist of a mix of hydrogen and natural gas. The hydrogen content in the gas supply should not exceed 20%. This is 20:80 for natural gas.
What is the cost of a hydrogen boiler?
A hydrogen-ready boiler cost between £500 and £3,000 before installation. If you are wanting your hydrogen-ready boiler installed then expect costs from £1,500. As you will see, this is no more than a 100% natural gas boiler because they are pretty much the same.
Prices for boilers vary depending on their manufacturer, type, and model. There are three types of boilers: regular, system, and combi boilers. As with gas boilers, the best boiler for you will depend on your heating system, property type, and the demand for heat and hot water.
Best hydrogen-ready combi boilers
Most combi boilers that are installed in 2022 will be hydrogen ready, if you a a boiler installed in 2021 it is also likel that it is hydrogen ready too. See our below guide of the current best hydrogen ready combi boilers available on the market right now from all the boiler brands.
All thse combi boilers are natural gas boilers that can run on up to 20% hydrogen straight out of the box, and the best bit is, they don’t cost a penny more than they used to.
Viessmann: Viessmann Vitodens 050-w, Vitodens 100-W, Vitodens 111-W
Worcester Bosch: Greenstar 8000 Lifestyle, Greenstar 2000, Greenstar 4000, Greenstar CDi Compact, Greenstar CDi Highflow, Greenstar Si
Baxi 600 800, Assure
Ideal Vogue Max, Vogue Gen2, Logic+
Best hydrogen-ready system boilers
Viessmann: Vitodens 100-W
Worcester Bosch, Greenstar 8000 Lifestyle, Greenstar 4000
Baxi 600 800, Assure
Ideal Vogue Max, Vogue Gen2, Logic Plus
Best hydrogen-ready regular boilers
Viessmann: Vitodens 100-W
Worcester Bosch: Greenstar 8000 Lifestyle, Greenstar 4000, Greenstar 4000, Greenstar Ri, Greenstar CDi FS
Baxi 600 800, Assure
Ideal: Logic Max, Logic+, Mexico HE
Although hydrogen boilers aren’t currently available for purchase, the Vitovalor fuel cell from Viessmann generates heat as well as electricity and already makes use hydrogen.
How does a hydrogen boiler work?
1: Hydrogen and oxygen enter the boiler
To start the process, hydrogen and oxygen enter into the hydrogen boiler. If this is an option, the hydrogen will be supplied from the main gas supply. And naturally, the oxygen will be supplied from the air. A valve controls the amount of each gas that can be injected into the boiler’s gas inlet. This is crucial because the gas volume can affect the flame size.
2: The gases can be mixed and then burned
Before being ignited in a catalyst burner, the hydrogen and oxygen gases are combined. The flames from hydrogen boilers are more dangerous than those of natural gas. Because hydrogen is more volatile than natural gas, the burners for these boilers have been specially designed to limit the flow of gas through them. In a hydrogen-only boiler, a flame detection component is required as hydrogen flames cannot be seen.
3: The heat exchanger is filled with hot gases
The heat exchanger is flooded with hot flue gases from combustion. The heat exchanger is composed of a number of pipes through which hot gases travel. Cold water surrounds these pipes. The hot gas flows through the pipes heating the water. This warms the water and can be used to heat your heating system, or used to heat your hot taps.
4: The system is exited from byproducts
Water is the only byproduct of burning hydrogen or oxygen. Therefore, a condensate must be created in order for water to escape from the system. Hot flue gases, such as hydrogen and oxygen, can also be expelled via the flue.
This hydrogen boiler pulls in more hydrogen and oxygen, so the whole process can be repeated over and over again.