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Hydrogen Boilers

sgrose949 | Posted in General Questions on

I would love to see an article about hydrogen boilers.  I know adoption in the US is a number of years away, but there is some progress in England on this non-fossil technology.  Where I live in NYS there are a lot of  existing hydronic systems, and I assume this is true for a lot of the country. Air-to-water heat pumps is a parallel technology that needs to be part of the same conversation.  I know it’s now inadequate for old radiators, but capable for radiant systems, panel radiators, and some sorts of hydro-air systems,
Stephen Rose
Cold Spring, NY

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  1. charlie_sullivan | | #1

    Air to water can work with old radiators if you do some combinations of:

    1. Insulating and air sealing first, so your load is reduced.

    2. Adding a few more radiators or radiant ceiling panels or whatever is needed.

    3. Using one of the higher-temperature output air-to-water heat pumps.

    I did options 1 and 2 only and haven't needed to bump my water temperature over 101 F yet this year, despite some -20 F nights outside.

  2. Expert Member
    BILL WICHERS | | #2

    Hydrogen has a lot of issues though. You have to store it in either a high pressure gas bottle, or in liquid form cryogenically. Both have there issues. You also have the hydrogen embrittlement problem with the metal. The biggest issue is that hydrogen is usually either chemically split from oil, so it’s still a petroleum derived fuel source, or it’s used as a sort of inefficient battery being split out of water by electrolysis.

    When used as a battery, hydrogen is produced using grid power like any other, so it’s produced with the same energy mix as the grid in the area where the hydrogen is produced. The downside is the process is inefficient, so there are a lot to energy losses. You’d be better off using a heat pump, or probably even electric resistance heat instead of using a hydrogen intermediary in this case.

    Hydrogen for vehicles at least addresses the issue of the energy storage needing to be mobile. In a fixed application like a boiler in a building, I think the negatives of hydrogen car outweigh any positives it may have.


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