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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

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      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeJun 17th 2022 edited
     
    I couldn't quite believe that burning anything, even renewably-produced hydrogen, could be really climate-problem free. Here it is - news to me, anyway:
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jun/17/pollutionwatch-hydrogen-power-climate-leaks

    "Two government reports show hydrogen is a climate-heating gas, with a 100-year global warming potential that is about 11 times greater than carbon dioxide."

    "hydrogen does not have a direct effect on climate. Instead, it affects other pollutants ... methane, the second-most important global warming gas, would stay in our air for longer and have more impact ... change the amount of ozone in our atmosphere ... change the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere and affect our stratosphere, adding to the climate impact."

    “Neither government nor the gas industry in the UK have any idea what the natural gas leakage rate is, so why do we expect hydrogen leakage to be any different?"
    AFAIK it would automatically be much greater, as tiny hydrogen molecules can squirt more freely, and through smaller gaps
    • CommentAuthorowlman
    • CommentTimeJun 17th 2022
     
    Interesting, also it's effect on methane.
    Like hydrogen no one has any Idea of the leakage from methane producing "on farm" bio digesters which is one of the reasons I think they are a menace, on so many levels.
  1.  
    Their science journalism is so bad these days.

    The original study concluded that hydrogen "offers major advantages" as a replacement for fossil energy carriers, and that the secondary effects of leaked hydrogen on other GHGs are extremely small compared to the benefits. It also determined that hydrogen remains only briefly in the atmosphere (<2years) compared to 10,000 -100,000years for CO2, so the lifetime damage done by hydrogen is correspondingly less.

    How (or why) this got written up as a scare story, is baffling. I can only think of two reasons why they have gone that way, and neither are very charitable.

    FWIW I think green hydrogen will at some point (decades from now) be a useful energy carrier for certain very specific purposes. But that the gas boiler industry's attempts to use hydrogen to justify selling more gas boilers, belong in the same bucket as certain newspapers' reporting methods.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeJun 17th 2022
     
    What woould we do without you Will? (should say 'I'). Get more careful I suppose.
    • CommentAuthorphiledge
    • CommentTimeJun 18th 2022
     
    The gas boiler industry may have some justification to be plugging hydrogen ready boilers-https://www.placenorthwest.co.uk/ellesmere-ports-whitby-could-become-hydrogen-village/

    For the majority to go electric we'd probably need to rebuild the electric infrastructure more or less from scratch- our DNO is replacing our undersized pole mounted transformer at a cost to them of £7K just for our house so we can expand our PV. Roll out upgrades across the country and the cost would likely be astronomical.

    As we already have a gas infrastructure it may well be more cost effective to use that eather than rebuild the electric grid??
    • CommentAuthorCliff Pope
    • CommentTimeJun 18th 2022
     
    I think we are trying to heat the wrong things. Rather than trying to heat entire houses and offices, it would be cheaper and less harmful to the planet to just insulate people instead.
    Abolition heating allowances and give wooly jumper and thermal underwear allowances instead. :)
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeJun 18th 2022
     
    It's not about heating people - when people get nett heated they die. All living things need to lose nett heat. It's about regulating that rate of heat loss.
  2.  
    Phil the DNOs are doing that mainly for electric cars, which for most people will use much more power than their heat pumps (remember only a third of the heat is delivered down the wire, the rest is delivered by air!).

    The issue for me with burning green hydrogen is you start with electricity and convert it to hydrogen then to heat, overall efficiency ~50%. But a heatpump's efficiency is 300% or more. So the running costs of a hydrogen boiler will be 2x more than of a fan heater, and 6x more than a heat pump. The gas boiler industry have been curiously silent about this, because people are accustomed to gas being the cheapest fuel. I can't see why customers would want to pay 6x more for hydrogen, beyond the initial "inertia" period.

    I can see hydrogen being useful for energy storage, heavy vehicles, trains, planes and some industrial heat, and for buildings which cannot use heatpumps. Hydrogen derivatives could trade energy over long distances (eg ammonia from Australia).

    The Hynet experiments switching villages over to hydrogen are interesting but that hydrogen will be made from fossil gas in the refinery. To roll out "green" hydrogen, a huge infrastructure of electrolyser plants would be needed, and 6x as many wind turbines to power them - that's the capital cost to balance against the DNO upgrading the transformers.

    Scottish Gas Networks are doing a green hydrogen experiment with 300 homes - they have a 5MW electrolyser, hydrogen storage tanks and are replacing everyone's boiler, for £30million
    https://www.sgn.co.uk/H100Fife
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeJun 18th 2022
     
    If I lived there, this is the bit that would terrify me:

    "If selected, residents of Whitby will start receiving hydrogen in 2025. Cadent and British Gas have guaranteed that, for two years, the Whitby resident will pay the same to use hydrogen as they would for natural gas."

    So what happens to the price after just two years!!?

    BTW, Cliff didn't suggest heating people, he suggested insulating them. That's precisely about regulating the rate of heat loss.
    • CommentAuthorphiledge
    • CommentTimeJun 18th 2022 edited
     
    Posted By: WillInAberdeenPhil the DNOs are doing that mainly for electric cars, which for most people will use much more power than their heat pumps (remember only a third of the heat is delivered down the wire, the rest is delivered by air!).

    I dont know what rating EV chargers are/can be but cooking lunch just now was pulling up to 5kw and if we had a HP we'd be drawing another 4/5kw. Weve no plans for an EV but if we added a HP we'd have fried our current transformer pretty quick, without an EV. Neighbours are probably all in a similar boat but ours only came to light with the application for extra PV.

    Looking further afield than our locale, if I look at our DNOs distribution heat map the majority of it is red meaning its at its limit https://www.spenergynetworks.co.uk/pages/sp_manweb_heat_maps.aspx. Im guessing its a similar picture country wide?? Thats before any mass transition to electric.

    On the cost of hydrogen, I dont think most people look past their next pay packet and if they have a choice of a hydrogen ready boiler for £2k or a HP for £10k Id be fairly sure an awful lot of people will go for the boiler and worry about running costs later. Remember also that theres lots of reports of disappointing HP performance and COPs significantly lower than 3. A badly intalled/operated HP isnt going to be cheap to run.

    On the generation of hydrogen, remembering that the wind doesnt always blow to power electrolisers, Id hazard a guess that the plans for hydrogen production involve a significant proportion of natural gas produced hydrogen with CCS.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeJun 18th 2022
     
    Posted By: philedgeLooking further afield than our locale, if I look at our DNOs distribution heat map the majority of it is red meaning its at its limit https://www.spenergynetworks.co.uk/pages/sp_manweb_heat_maps.aspx. Im guessing its a similar picture country wide?? Thats before any mass transition to electric.
    Looking at what seems to be the equivalent for my DNO https://dgmap.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/site/?q=dgmapping_ext_open it seems that we are in a healthier-looking position (and there's a major fuss at the moment about a proposed new line of pylons linking Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex because of future growth plans). So I don't think your location is typical, but I haven't loked elsewhere either.

    Our house is all-electric and we have a 100 A connection, so I don't think a few kW will cause grief. An electric shower could be 10 kW and there's no restrictions on fitting those I'm aware of.

    EV chargers are 7 kW single phase or 22 kW 3-phase AIUI.

    I dont think most people look past their next pay packet and if they have a choice of a hydrogen ready boiler for £2k or a HP for £10k Id be fairly sure an awful lot of people will go for the boiler and worry about running costs later.
    I agree, but the question is whether you'd switch over to a hydrogen supply with only a two-year guarantee of price equivalence?
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJun 18th 2022
     
    Re Hydrogen in the atmosphere, it is the only gas that can reach escape velocity and be lost from the atmosphere and the planet.

    Hydrogen is incredibly difficult to keep in pipes and very explosive if it leaks out, way more explosive than ‚Äúnatural gas‚ÄĚ

    It will in my opinion hydrogen become the long term fuel of the future
    • CommentAuthorCliff Pope
    • CommentTimeJun 19th 2022
     
    <blockquote>

    Hydrogen is incredibly difficult to keep in pipes and very explosive if it leaks out, way more explosive than ‚Äúnatural gas‚ÄĚ

    </blockquote>

    It had better be made jolly safe then. The first major explosion disaster will be the "Hindenburg" moment for the whole industry.
  3.  
    There was some government study about hydrogen safety in houses last year, IIRC they thought that there would be more frequent gas explosions, but it would stop carbon monoxide cases. There was something about replacing the gas meter and adding extra shut off valves for more leak proofing, and replacing cookers and boilers with safer models, and having natural ventilators in kitchens etc.

    The village-scale experiments in the next few years are partly to scope out this kind of work; if they switch a street at a time over to hydrogen they'll have to do the work on every house at the same time.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJun 19th 2022
     
    I think 10% can be added to natural gas without the need to alter anything and did hear some murmurs about hydrogen ready boilers a few years ago.
  4.  
    Unfortunately hydrogen has only about one-third the energy per m³, so a 10% hydrogen blend would only replace about 3% of the carbon energy and emissions.

    I'm sure you can think of dozens of easier ways to reduce a building's carbon by 3% ! Though blending in some hydrogen would push up the cost of the gas supply, which might have a greater effect on reducing consumption.

    To have a meaningful impact, we'd need to replace 100% of the methane with green hydrogen, which is forecast to be sufficiently available from the 2040s. Any "hydrogen ready" boiler fitted today, will have worn out and been replaced before that hydrogen supply arrives. AFAICS It's just a green marketing gimmick for the fossil gas boiler industry.
    • CommentAuthorbogal2
    • CommentTimeJun 21st 2022
     
    In Cheshire West where Hynet is operating the council are almost unanimously supporting it with the only opposition coming from the sole Green councillor. The hydrogen test village was going to be Helsby, which is his patch, the rumour is that it was switched to Whitby because of him. Unbelievable that no-one can see the fallacy in the argument for blue hydrogen. One of the big arguments for Hynet is the cluster of high energy demand from the chemical industry round here. Possibly the biggest user, the CF fertilizer plant in Ince, that uses as much energy as Liverpool when running apparently, has been mothballed for months and is now scheduled to close.
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