Pembrokeshire has played host to a demonstration of what is being called the world’s first smart hydrogen hybrid heating system.
On 22 February, Port of Milford Haven explained the trial, which was part of the UKRI funded Milford Haven: Energy Kingdom project, saw a hydrogen-fuelled boiler combined with an electric air-source heat pump, alongside smart control technology. It was carried out by the Port of Milford Haven and a collaboration of partners, including Passiv UK, Wales & West Utilities, Kiwa UK, Worcester Bosch, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, and Pembrokeshire County Council.
Kiwa UK delivered bottled hydrogen to the Worcester Bosch boiler, simulating periods when renewable electricity was unable to run the heat pump or a temperature boost was needed. The smart controls, designed by Passiv UK, were integrated with the system seamlessly, automatically switching between the air source heat pump and hydrogen boiler. Every two minutes, the system assesses GB energy generation mix and renewable electricity available on the local grid. Should this availability be low or non-existent, it requests that the boiler runs on hydrogen.
Research has shown almost 50% of UK properties are not suitable for standalone heat pumps. This is down to poor thermal properties and other limitations. Furthermore, many of the UK’s aging housing stock would require disruptive and expensive energy efficiency improvements if to be effectively heated by a standalone heat pump system. This makes hybrid heating systems a cheaper and less disruptive alternative, one that can be fitted as a quick and direct replacement to a typical boiler system.