File photo: Aerial view of tulip fields near the city of Creil in the Netherlands. (Reuters/Eve Herman)

AMSTERDAM: Hydrogen, hailed as the clean fuel of the future, is being tested on a national scale with 12 households in the town of Lohem in the eastern Netherlands.

A three-year experiment is being conducted by local operator Alliander using a BDR Thermea hydrogen boiler, using the local grid converted to piped hydrogen instead of natural gas.

Despite the different chemistries of the two gases, hydrogen boilers work very similarly to natural gas boilers, so voluntary homeowners are unlikely to notice much of a difference. is.

They pay the same price as natural gas under the scheme.

However, hydrogen emits no greenhouse gases when burned, making it an important part of the Dutch strategy to reach zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The hydrogen used in the Dutch experiment was “grey”, meaning it was a by-product of the burning of fossil fuels that fed the Lochem grid in a nearby industrial area.

Gray hydrogen is currently too expensive for normal home heating, but “green” hydrogen produced using renewable electricity is still rare. , some predict that the price of green hydrogen will fall.

Bertrand Schmitt, CEO of BDR Thermea, says hydrogen is just one of the technologies of the future and could be particularly useful for older single-family homes like the ones used in Lochem’s trials.
District heating and electric heat pumps, which BDR also manufactures, also play an important role.

The production of ‘green’ hydrogen from renewable sources is expected to expand in the coming years.

Shell has unveiled an electrolysis plant in the port of Rotterdam, which will produce 60,000 kilograms of hydrogen per day from offshore wind by 2025.

The Dutch government has mandated grid operator Gasunie to develop a nationwide hydrogen grid in stages by 2030.

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