Hydrogen boilers

Hydrogen boilers: the future of heating

With the UK government’s 2050 net zero target edging ever closer, there is an increase in focus on finding and switching to greener energy sources. However, for the heating and hot water industry, switching away from carbon completely is a complex process. This is because the majority of UK homes use natural gas for their heating.

At Navien UK, we are anticipating future challenges in the way that we all heat our homes and supply hot water. While decisions are still to be made at a government level, one potential future for UK homes is having a hydrogen boiler.

Why hydrogen boilers?

With a third of UK greenhouse gases coming from homes, the UK cannot meet its climate change targets without a significant change to home heating and fuel.

Hydrogen is a completely carbon-free fuel source, when it is produced using green energy and can easily be used in current hydrogen-ready boilers with little disruption to the homeowner.

Whilst the government have not made it a requirement, some boilers could become 100% hydrogen in the future, where they can be installed as a natural gas boiler. If hydrogen is supplied in the future, through the existing gas network, a small conversion kit can be used to convert the boiler from natural gas to hydrogen.

Hydrogen boiler FAQs

What is a hydrogen-ready boiler?

A hydrogen-ready boiler is a gas-fired heating boiler that can burn natural gas or 100% hydrogen. Hydrogen is a carbon-free energy carrier when produced using green energy, and the combustion of hydrogen produces zero carbon dioxide at the point of use.

Hydrogen can be manufactured from water using electricity or from natural gas alongside carbon capture and storage.

All hydrogen-ready boilers are designed to be a natural replacement for an existing gas boiler. The boiler can be easily converted to burn hydrogen if the local network makes the switch.

Our range of Hydrogen-ready boilers features the NCB300, NCB500 ON Combi Crossover and the NCB700 ON Combi Crossover.

How does a hydrogen-ready boiler work?

The boiler functions similarly to natural gas boilers. It is built in the same way and works in the same way. Most of the components are also identical.

It takes just about an hour to convert a hydrogen-ready boiler from natural gas, changing a few components such as the burner. In time, Gas Safe Registered engineers will be trained to work with hydrogen in a similar way to LPG.

What is the current state of Hydrogen Boilers?

The UK Government has postponed its trial of hydrogen boilers in Redcar:

“The proposed hydrogen heating village trial in Redcar cannot go ahead as designed, as the main source of hydrogen supply will not be available. As such, the government is not in a position to provide support for the trial.

The government believes that low carbon hydrogen may have a role to play in heat decarbonisation, alongside heat pumps and heat networks, in slower time in some locations. The government therefore still plans to take a decision in 2026 on whether, and if so how, hydrogen will contribute to heating decarbonisation.”

This was the second trial cancelled in 2023, after the Whitby trial. This means the current outlook on hydrogen boilers is unclear as the UK government investigate alternatives, such as heat pumps.

For more information about our boilers, including those which are hydrogen-ready, please get in touch with our team today.

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