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Carbon neutral heating solution uses AI & hydrogen storage technology

In a what's described as a world first, Baxi and H2GO Power have announced an industrial scale demonstration to deliver their carbon neutral heating solution, heat-in-a-box – which will supply heat for gas pre-heating in a safe and carbon-neutral manner with potential to supply renewable heating for other operations.

The ground-breaking trial will be hosted by Northern Gas Networks (NGN), the gas distributor for the North East, northern Cumbria and much of Yorkshire, at its Low Thornley test facility, near Gateshead.

Pre-heating is an essential part of distributing gas. Before it can be transported to homes and businesses through the network, the pressure of the gas must be reduced. This process can cause it to freeze, so pre-heating takes place to allow the gas to flow. Traditional pre-heating units are highly energy-intensive, so over the last decade, the gas industry has been exploring a range of low carbon technologies capable of carrying out the process.

Heat-in-a-box is a containerised first-of-a-kind solution, combining electrolysis, H2GO’s proprietary low-pressure hydrogen storage and Baxi’s hydrogen boiler, the first-ever pure hydrogen boiler for commercial applications. The end-to-end system will be powered by solar PV and supported by an AI-enabled optimisation software platform developed by H2GO Power (HyAI), the world’s first optimisation end-to-end Software as a service platform specifically designed for hydrogen value chain systems. HyAI will be installed on NGN’s existing infrastructure to integrate them as part of the solution and optimise the overall system operation. The solution introduces the concept of a Smart Hydrogen-Gas Network (SHyGaN).

The SHyGaN initiative is among projects funded through the BEIS £1bn Net Zero Innovation Portfolio under the Industrial Hydrogen Accelerator Programme, which delivers funding for innovation projects that can provide evidence on end-to-end industrial fuel switching to hydrogen. The IHA will develop blueprints for the implementation of hydrogen solutions for industrial uses.

The system has been designed for maximised energy efficiency and minimal system maintenance ensuring a secure carbon-free and safe autonomous operation.

Karen Boswell, Managing Director at Baxi UK & Ireland, said: “There are challenges associated with electrification of industry, particularly where systems and processes have been designed for higher temperatures. Hydrogen is a viable alternative net zero energy carrier that can meet the needs of these hard to decarbonise sectors and can be used for mass storage of curtailed renewables – such as wind and PV – to use at times of peak demand for heat. Developing practical, cost-effective ways of storing hydrogen addresses both decarbonisation and energy reliability, making this project a particularly interesting solution for multiple use cases.”

Dr Enass Abo-Hamed, H2GO Power CEO, said: “Heat-in-the-box is revolutionary as it can decarbonise heating processes from multiple industries including cement, glass, ceramics, chemical, food & drinks, paper & pulp and more. Furthermore, the demand for heat is three times higher than the demand for power and is responsible for 40% of all global emissions. Decarbonisation of heat systems have been proven difficult and costly to achieve so far, but this latest initiative is set to change this. Our technology is at the forefront of delivering a life-changing, effective and scalable solution to meet the world’s energy demands.”

Climate and Energy Minister Graham Stuart said:

“I am excited to see H2GO Power in collaboration with Baxi moving towards delivering hydrogen-powered heating systems on an industrial scale, made possible with over £3.1m government funding. Innovative, government-supported projects like this will help industries reduce their dependency on fossil fuels, strengthening our domestic energy supply whilst establishing the UK as a world-leader in hydrogen-based heating technology.”

Mark Horsley, CEO of Northern Gas Networks said: “Innovation projects are critical to understanding the route for the UK to reach net zero, the role hydrogen can play in helping to decarbonise all sectors and the opportunities it offers within a whole-systems approach. We’re delighted to be hosting such an exciting whole-systems demonstration.”

Baxi is one of only a few manufacturers to be testing hydrogen solutions for the commercial and residential markets. In addition to participating in this pioneering heat-in-a-box demonstration with its Remeha Quinta Ace 45 hydrogen boiler, Baxi has successfully demonstrated a 100% hydrogen boiler for residential applications as part of the government’s Hy4Heat programme in Low Thornley and HyStreet at Spadeadam. Its boilers are being used for the H100 project, the hydrogen neighbourhood in Fife, and a ‘hydrogen village’ pilot which is well into the planning stages. Baxi’s parent company, BDR Thermea, recently launched a world-first pilot using its 100% hydrogen boilers in 12 inhabited homes in the eastern Dutch town of Lochem with hydrogen supplied via an existing natural gas grid.

Baxi also has a strong and expanding range of air source heat pumps as part of its portfolio of heating and hot water solutions and offers offsite-fabricated heat network solutions provided by Baxi Packaged Solutions.

14 December 2022


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