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IGEM to oversee design of new hydrogen standards for heating

Organisation will work with industry expert to review and benchmark new standards as part of larger £25m government research into the gas as a means of curbing CO2 emissions

The Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers (IGEM) will develop new hydrogen standards to help shape and inform a wider £25m research programme into the potential of the gas as an alternative means of generating heat.

A group of technical specialists will be brought together by the organisation to look at both national and global knowledge gaps concerning hydrogen use and its overall feasibility for heating both residential and commercial buildings.

This work will form part of wider research to determine if government will decide to proceed with community trials of new hydrogen technology. The £25m Hy4Heat programme will also fund separate projects into the gas that will consider issues around purity, odorisation and colourisation.

Arup has meanwhile been appointed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to serve as a programme management contractor to coordinate these separate focuses such as standards.

Ian McCluskey, head of technical services with IGEM, said its appointment to review and consider standards built on its existing work and expertise in setting out guidance for the gas supply chain.

He said, “This work, alongside IGEM’s involvement in other GDN-led hydrogen projects, will ensure that the relevant standards are developed and owned by the UK gas industry, ensuring the UK’s proud 200-year history of gas safety is maintained.”

“This will significantly contribute to our industry’s ambition to develop a safe and secure low carbon gas network for the future.”

IGEM added that it intends to establish three working groups to look at materials, the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations DSEAR, as well as leakage rate and ventilation; appliance location, fluing, installation and air supply; and installation.

The organisation said its standards work would be peer reviewed by a project board from Hy4Heat, as well as a range of industry experts.

Arup director Mark Neller said that the focus of the new standards and the Hy4Heat programme reflected the potential in the UK to lead the way in establishing hydrogen as a domestic fuel to meet needs for reductions in CO2 emissions.

He added, “This project will help establish the feasibility using hydrogen for cooking, hot water and heating our homes. It will also undertake the essential preparatory work for possible future community trials.”

Earlier this month, Boiler giant Worcester Bosch published a paper considering the likely direction of future heating innovation based on the emergence of disruptive technologies and a push to low carbon buildings.

The manufacturer said it believed a switch to supplying the gas offers the best route to reducing carbon in heating, when costs, user-familiarity and efficiency in the existing housing stock is factored in.

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