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Northern Gas Networks and Cadent to fund UK’s first hydrogen-powered homes

Two semi-detached homes containing appliances fuelled entirely by hydrogen, the first of their kind in the UK, are to be built in Low Thornley, Gateshead.

The project is being run by Northern Gas Networks and Cadent, both of which have input £250,000 of funding each. It will also be part-funded a further £250,000 by the government’s £25 million Hy4Heat Innovation programme.

The non-residential homes, which will be built purely for demonstration, are set to open in April and will include appliances such as boilers, hobs, cookers and fires that will all be 100 per cent powered by hydrogen.

Members of the public will be able to visit and view the appliances and see how they compare to existing ones. Additionally other groups such as schools and universities will be able to learn about the new technology.

Both houses are intended to have a three-year lifespan but with the potential to last up to 10 years.

The project is aligned with a larger scheme detailed in the government’s 10-point plan, which last year set out the target of creating the first town heated entirely by hydrogen by 2030 as part of a wider goal to boost production of the low-carbon gas to 5GW by the same date.

Up to £500 million has been earmarked for investment in hydrogen, £240 million of which will go into new production facilities in 2021.

Mark Horsley, chief executive of Northern Gas Networks, said: “We’re delighted to be working with BEIS and Cadent on this unique demonstration, which gives energy customers a first glimpse at hydrogen technology in the home.

“Just like natural gas, hydrogen can heat homes in exactly the same way, meaning minimal change for customers in terms of how they use gas for heating or cooking.

“The houses bring to life the potential of this green gas for keeping UK homes warm, while minimising impact on the environment.”

Steve Fraser, Cadent chief executive, said: “We are proud to be part of this important project where we will be able to show customers what their future gas appliances will look like. A familiar sight to them, with one difference, they will be powered by hydrogen.

“These projects are so important to demonstrate a decarbonised energy solution in homes now.”

Meanwhile energy minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “From running a hot bath and cooking our evening meals to turning on the heating, most of us use natural gas every day. However, to tackle climate change, we need to find alternatives to fossil fuels and move towards making clean energy the norm.

“While these new houses in Gateshead will look like any other, they will showcase how low carbon hydrogen can transform the way we power our homes and offer a glimpse of what the future holds as we build back greener.”