Hydrogen is the new buzzword in every industry, and real estate is no exception. Hydrogen does not emit carbon dioxide when burnt and could therefore help reduce the climate impact of buildings, which in aggregate represent one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases after industry and surface transport. To the extent that hydrogen is to become an important power source globally, it will need to enter the domestic power market. The first step appears to be the development of pilot villages.
In the UK, there are several hydrogen trials in uninhabited properties or in closed private networks. There are some uninhabited houses on a Royal Air Force base in Cumbria that are exclusively heated with hydrogen and also a private gas network at Keele University which uses 20 percent hydrogen blended with natural gas. In addition, there is a small village near Newcastle that is being used as a test case: for a period of 10 months starting in spring 2021, up to 20 percent hydrogen will be blended into the natural gas network so that more than 650 homes can be partially heated by hydrogen. It is expected that a small number of additional villages will be able to heat their homes with 100 percent hydrogen as soon as 2022, with a scale up to have a hydrogen town by 2030.