S&P Global Platts
Hydrogen can play a role in decarbonizing energy in buildings through combined heat and power applications, Hydrogen Europe managing director Nicolas Brahy said March 16.
Alongside insulation and electrification, hydrogen would be a key component of energy transition in the heating sector, Brahy said, noting that much of Europe's older housing stock was not best suited to electrified systems such as heat pumps.
Further, extra demand put on electricity systems by a narrow focus on electrification of heat would be problematic, particularly given the seasonality of heating demand.
While heating demand peaks in winter did not fit well with solar generation in particular, stored hydrogen produced from surplus renewables could be dispatched at will in a CHP unit, responding quickly to demand, Brahy said.
Furthermore, hydrogen for cogeneration created system flexibility with associated power production available to meet anticipated increased evening demand from EV charging, he said.
"The beauty of cogeneration is that it produces electricity exactly at the moment when you have an excess of demand," Brahy said. "This is not science fiction; this is already happening."
CHP systems manufacturer 2G Energy head of public affairs Stefan Liesner pointed to a working example in Esslingen, Germany, where local renewable power was being used to produce green hydrogen for storage ahead of use in a CHP plant.
Residential buildings in the system were using a mix of hydrogen-produced district heat backed up by heat pumps and emergency boilers fed by natural gas.