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A Review of the Role of Hydrogen in the Heat Decarbonization of Future Energy Systems: Insights and Perspectives


Hydrogen is an emerging technology changing the context of heating with cleaner combustion than traditional fossil fuels. Studies indicate the potential to repurpose the existing natural gas infrastructure, offering consumers a sustainable, economically viable option in the future. The integration of hydrogen in combined heat and power systems could provide residential energy demand and reduce environmental emissions. However, the widespread adoption of hydrogen will face several challenges, such as carbon dioxide emissions from the current production methods and the need for infrastructure modification for transport and safety. Researchers indicated the viability of hydrogen in decarbonizing heat, while some studies also challenged its long-term role in the future of heating. In this paper, a comprehensive literature review is carried out by identifying the following key aspects, which could impact the conclusion on the overall role of hydrogen in heat decarbonization: (i) a holistic view of the energy system, considering factors such as renewable integration and system balancing; (ii) consumer-oriented approaches often overlook the broader benefits of hydrogen in emission reduction and grid stability; (iii) carbon capture and storage scalability is a key factor for large-scale production of low-emission blue hydrogen; (iv) technological improvements could increase the cost-effectiveness of hydrogen; (v) the role of hydrogen in enhancing resilience, especially during extreme weather conditions, raises the potential of hydrogen as a flexible asset in the energy infrastructure for future energy supply; and finally, when considering the UK as a basis case, (vi) incorporating factors such as the extensive gas network and unique climate conditions, necessitates specific strategies.

Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Germany ; United Kingdom

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