For over 100 years combustion boilers have kept buildings warm and dry across the globe. These boilers have predominantly utilized fossil fuels such as oil and gas to produce their heat. Although these boilers have become incredibly efficient over the last two decades they still produce a percentage of CO₂ - that will soon change.
With infrastructure for gas networks already in place throughout the world, scientists and engineers are working towards a transition to a hydrogen based solution for replacing traditional gases. With boilers capable of burning up to 30% hydrogen/natural gas mixture already on the market, the transition is well underway.
For central heating applications in New Zealand, this is the best step forward.
With the majority of our homes not suitable for heat pump solutions due to poor building standards, combustion based heating remains the ideal solution.
FUTURE OF COMBUSTION HEATING
There is no doubt that hydrogen will play a crucial role in supplying energy in the 21st century.
Its positive properties, such as producing virtually no exhaust gases when burned, make it an ideal substitute for fossil fuels such as coal, oil or natural gas.
The most common element in the universe has numerous positive properties. Hydrogen is:
Non-toxic, non-corrosive and non-radioactive,
It does not contaminate water and does not harm nature or the environment
Hydrogen has the highest energy density per kilogram compared to natural gas and fuel oil (hydrogen 33.3 kWh/kg, natural gas 13.9 kWh/kg, fuel oil 11.4 kWh/kg)
Above all, its combustion does not produce any climate-damaging CO2
However, the element does not occur on earth in pure form, but must be obtained from water or other hydrogen-containing compounds. In the form of water, it covers over two thirds of the earth's surface. The total water resources of the earth amount to approximately 1.386 billion cubic kilometers.
Experts are focusing primarily on the electrolysis of water to produce this new source of energy. The electricity required for this comes from wind power and photovoltaic plants, which already produce more electricity than can be consumed on windy and sunny days. This surplus electricity is to be used to split the water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen obtained in this way, which is completely CO2-free, is also known as "green hydrogen".
GAS CONDENSING BOILERS FROM VIESSMANN ARE ALREADY HYDROGEN READY
As a pioneer in the field of heating technology, Viessmann is making it possible today to use an energy source with a high hydrogen content.
All Viessmann gas heating appliances can run on 10 percent hydrogen. Lab tests have shown that up to 30 percent is possible without any problems. However, Europe still lacks a statutory framework for approving the use of such mixtures. And Viessmann is already thinking beyond this: gas heating appliances and fuel cells are being developed and tested for operation with 100 percent hydrogen.
As hydrogen technology advances over the coming years, the need to redesign entire heating systems to suit low temperature electrical technologies such as heat pumps is reduced. This will lessen the huge strain on the heating sector as it transitions to carbon neutrality.