Bid to become UK’s first ‘hydrogen village’ reaches milestone

Robin Thornhill

A Cheshire village aiming to become the UK’s first carbon-reducing ‘hydrogen village’ has reached a key milestone.

Cadent and British Gas are proposing to convert around 2,000 homes in the Whitby area of Ellesmere Port from using natural gas (methane) to hydrogen.

This would be a UK first – a village-size population receiving hydrogen through the existing underground gas distribution network.

Unlike natural gas, hydrogen produces no carbon emissions when burned in a boiler to heat properties and provide hot water.

This area of Ellesmere Port was confirmed as one of two possible locations for the UK’s first ‘hydrogen village’ in May this year.

The other is in North East England and a decision will be made next year, with the chosen location starting to receive a hydrogen supply in 2025.

Hydrogen will be supplied through the existing network of gas pipes.

If this area of Whitby is chosen, every property in the selected area will get free boiler upgrades to new hydrogen-ready versions. This means residents would continue using boilers and appliances they are familiar with today

As part of the project, qualified engineers need to visit every property to carry out an assessment.

The team in Whitby has just completed its 100th assessment. This was at the home of Robin Thornhill.

Mr Thornhill said: “From what we’ve heard about this so far, this is a really exciting project to be part of. We’re looking forward to helping make it happen.”

Marc Clarke, head of Hydrogen Consumer, Cadent, said: “We’ve had a massive amount of interest from the local community since we announced our plan only a few months ago and that’s really encouraging for everyone involved.

“As we build the case for Whitby to be the UK first, we need to visit every property to get a clear picture of what the existing gas infrastructure looks like. We’ve just finished our 100th assessment, just a matter of weeks after starting.”

He urged Whitby residents to book a free assessment, which also includes a thorough safety check of all household gas appliances, including boilers.

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