We understand that the Whitby community will continue to have questions about the programme. You can see a selection of Fact Sheets we have developed below as well as our answers to some of the more common queries below.
Answering your questions
We understand that local residents and businesses will continue to have questions about the Hydrogen Village programme and what it could mean if it is delivered in Whitby, Ellesmere Port. Some of these questions have been asked via a Facebook group set up by local residents to discuss the programme. We have answered these questions here:
We have also answered the most common questions below.
Will the Hydrogen Village cost residents anything?
People who own, work or live in properties in the Hydrogen Village area won’t pay a penny for the conversion.
The confirmed Hydrogen Village location will be supplied with low-carbon hydrogen for around two years from 2025 – and throughout that time, the hydrogen gas supplied to those properties won’t cost any more than natural gas.
Owners of properties within proposed Hydrogen Village areas will be offered a free home heat assessment, to understand more about what the programme means for them.
If, in 2023, Ofgem confirms that the Hydrogen Village programme will definitely go ahead in Whitby, then Cadent and British Gas will work with residents and businesses to make any required changes to properties to enable the supply of hydrogen – this would include a free upgrade to boilers in the confirmed ‘Hydrogen Village’ area.”
These free appliances would only be available to participants in the immediate Hydrogen Village area of up to 2,000 properties, during the programme timeline.
The Hydrogen Village programme is funded by energy regulator Ofgem.
What is hydrogen and why is it good for heating?
By 2050, the UK has committed to reach net zero – meaning we’ll be adding no more carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, than we remove.
To reach net zero, we need to reduce our average household’s CO2 emissions by 95%.
Currently, most of the UK’s homes rely upon carbon-emitting natural gas for their heating, hot water and cooking. Replacing that with a different gas (hydrogen) is one option for helping tackle this challenge – because when hydrogen’s burned as a fuel, it doesn’t produce harmful CO2 emissions.
Hydrogen can be easily transported to the homes and businesses that are connected to the UK’s existing network of gas pipes. Plus, the boilers used in 85% of the UK’s homes can be replaced with versions that run on hydrogen.
Low-carbon hydrogen can be made in the UK.
Where will the Hydrogen Village programme take place?
Two Hydrogen Village locations are being considered. One of them is in an area within Whitby, Ellesmere Port (and the other’s in the North East).
Whitby is located in close proximity to a range of initiatives that will ensure that the North West is at the forefront of hydrogen development and delivery.
Other factors that make Whitby an ideal location for this programme include how easy it is to adapt the existing gas network, the type of housing stock, and the opportunity to expand to other areas at the end of the project.
At the start of May 2022, letters were sent to every address within the boundaries of the proposed Hydrogen Village area within Whitby (Ellesmere Port), to inform residents and businesses of the programme.
What is an in-home hydrogen assessment and how can I book one?
If you live within the proposed Hydrogen Village programme area in Whitby, you can now book your free in-home hydrogen assessment.
During the assessment, we’ll discuss the Hydrogen Village programme with you in more detail. We’ll also check your existing gas appliances are safe and working as they should be (we’ll give them all a British Gas service while we’re there).
Plus, we’ll supply and install a FREE Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarm.
We anticipate that completing your assessment will take around two hours. To get the most out of it, it’s best that the decision-maker for your home is available throughout this time.
Hundreds of Whitby residents have now taken part in an in-home hydrogen assessment and booking yours is really simple. You can either call us on 0800 035 3371 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Still want to know more? Watch our handy video explaining what the in-home assessment involves, here: https://hydrogenvillage.com/book-your-in-home-hydrogen-assessment/
I live within the proposed Hydrogen Village area. Do I have a choice about how I get involved?
By 2050, the UK needs to reach net zero – meaning no more emissions are added into the atmosphere, than can be removed. Currently most UK homes and businesses rely on natural gas, a fossil fuel, for heating and cooking, which accounts for about 23% of our overall carbon dioxide emissions.
The Government, therefore, want to see how a village can operate completely off natural gas. Under current plans, homes and businesses will be given a choice between replacing their existing natural gas appliances with either hydrogen-capable appliances or using an alternative energy supply such as electricity.
We will be providing more information to residents this year about the options and benefits we are proposing as part of the Hydrogen Village programme, so that they can make an informed choice about their involvement in the programme.
What type of hydrogen will be supplied to Whitby, Ellesmere Port?
We are committed to a low carbon Hydrogen Village trial and will use green hydrogen.
However, to ensure a resilient supply of hydrogen, we are currently looking at a number of sources, which are subject to commercial discussions.
Similarly, today we ensure a resilient supply of natural gas by using a number of different sources; North Sea, Liquid Natural Gas (LNG), Interconnectors form Europe.
Currently, none of the hydrogen options we are exploring are blue.
Why’s the Hydrogen Village important?
The Hydrogen Village, also known as the ‘hydrogen village trial’, will demonstrate how 100% hydrogen can be used for heating and cooking instead of natural gas.
It will focus on converting a ‘village-sized’ area of around 2,000 homes and businesses connected to the existing public gas grid, to run on hydrogen for around two years. The programme will help the UK Government decide how hydrogen could be used nationally.
The Hydrogen Village will build on a series of more focussed projects of using 100% hydrogen for the same purpose, that have taken place in recent years by gas network companies, working with the Government, the Health & Safety Executive and other industry organisations.
The Hydrogen Village is linked to, but separate to, the work that has been done to demonstrate the safety of using up to 20% hydrogen without any changes to the gas grid or people’s household appliances.
When will hydrogen start being supplied to Whitby?
Hydrogen could be supplied in an area of up to 2,000 homes in Whitby (Ellesmere Port) from 2025.
A period of engagement will take place in Whitby first, to confirm which properties are located within the proposed ‘Village’ boundary; answer any questions about the project from individual homeowners, residents and landlords; demonstrate the benefits of hydrogen in more detail; and carry out local surveys.
The engagement and surveying work will be carried out by Cadent (which manages the gas pipes in the North West) and British Gas. In 2023, Cadent and British Gas will report back to Ofgem on their findings.
Then, Ofgem will confirm where the Hydrogen Village programme will be located – either the area within Whitby in the North West, or a location in the North East.
How much will hydrogen reduce CO2 emissions?
When it’s burned as a fuel, in cookers and boilers, hydrogen doesn’t produce any carbon dioxide emissions – unlike natural gas, which is currently used by about 85% of UK homes (resulting in an average 2.7 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually, per house).
There’s a few ways to produce the low-carbon hydrogen that could be used for heating and cooking in the future.
At first some of the hydrogen will be made from methane with the CO2 from production removed and stored away.
Over the longer term hydrogen will increasingly be made by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using renewable energy, with almost no CO2 emissions.
Is hydrogen safe?
Gas Distribution Networks (GDNs) will work to ensure hydrogen is delivered and can be used at least as safely as natural gas in Hydrogen Villages, liaising with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
HSE uses the regulatory framework to improve the management of health and safety risks by gas networks, and is also assessing the evidence on the safety of using hydrogen in homes and the networks.
What’s already been prepared for a switch to hydrogen?
Lots of work has already been carried out to prepare for a possible switch from natural gas to hydrogen.
71,000km of plastic hydrogen-ready piping has been already installed around the country – equalling 74% of the total used by local gas distribution networks (and more than enough to go around the world one and a half times).
And boiler manufacturers are already building hydrogen-ready appliances.
There’s also been a number of projects that have demonstrated the effectiveness of hydrogen for cooking and heating.
- A project called HyDeploy, which has been pioneering the blending of up to 20% hydrogen (by volume) into the gas grid. Read more
- The ground-breaking H21 project, which has successfully tested existing gas network infrastructure. Read more here.
- The Hy4Heat programme, which demonstrated the use of hydrogen-ready appliances in homes. Read more here.
- As a precursor to the launch of Hydrogen Communites, a smaller ‘neighbourhood trial’ will take place. Called H100 Fife, this will be run by SGN in Fife, Scotland, supplying 100% hydrogen to around 300 homes. This will demonstrate that hydrogen, transported in a newly installed gas network, can heat homes. You can find out more about that project here.
Who’s running the Hydrogen Village programme?
The potential Hydrogen Village programme in Whitby, Ellesmere Port, will be led by the North West’s gas distribution network Cadent, which is responsible for managing the gas pipes and other infrastructure that currently deliver gas to people’s homes and businesses.
Cadent will be partnering with British Gas and Cheshire West & Chester Council. It will also be working with the Government, energy regulator Ofgem (which is funding the Hydrogen Village programme) and the Health & Safety Executive.
What happens at the end of the programme?
A key part of the project is all about engaging with the local community and undertaking surveys to help determine how the Hydrogen Village programme can be delivered locally, with minimum disruption to residents. A really important aspect of this is listening to your views about what happens at the end of the programme – when the area will either continue to be supplied with hydrogen or revert to using natural gas.
We’re committed to presenting local feedback to Government to inform any future decisions that are made about this. And whilst these discussions will continue over the coming months, we can confirm that residents who switch to hydrogen for the programme won’t be expected to pay for any changes that may be required as a direct result.