Heat Pumps v Hydrogen: (Scalded Or Burned!!)

By Paul Homewood



The energy study also revealed that hydrogen-fuelled boilers "will never be a cost-effective option". According to Bloomberg, the average annual running cost for a heat pump stands at £743, compared to £2,784 for a hydrogen boiler.


The Government has produced a landmark green scheme to provide families with a £5,000 grant to buy electric heat pumps for their homes.

But, in a poll of 5,605 Express.co.uk readers, held from December 24 to 30, a staggering 90 percent of voters said they would not buy a heat pump in the next five years, while six percent said they would, and four percent were undecided.

Many readers disagreed with the research produced by The European Consumer Organisation, and insisted heat pumps are a poor energy source.



The study referred to comes from the European Consumer Organisation. Although it says that heat pumps are the cheapest “green option”, they are coy about how much dearer they are than gas boilers!




It is based on four European countries, but below is the analysis for Czech Republic, which is probably the most comparable to the UK:



1758 euro equals £1465, which looks on the side, but is based on a pre-1970 home, which will no doubt be hugely energy inefficient. Presumably Czech winters will be much colder too!

We can untangle it by looking at the heat demand, which is based on 22615 KWh/yr. Given that a gas boiler works at 85% efficiency, this implies gas usage of 26605 KWh:


The average UK home uses about 15000 KWh, I believe, meaning heat demand of 12750 KWh. We can therefore infer heat pump electricity consumption of 5013 KWh – ie an efficiency factor of 2.54.

The costings seem to be based on energy prices as they were before recent rises; for instance, electricity at 184 Euro/MWh. At this level, the heat pump running cost for our average UK home would be £767 a year (close to that Bloomberg figure). However, based on 2020 gas prices of 2.5p/KWh, a gas boiler would only cost £375 a year to run.

This is broadly in line with my calculations in the last year or two.

By the way, despite the rise in gas prices, heat pumps still remain £406 more expensive to run , because electricity prices have also risen in tandem.

But what really took my eye was the cost of running a hydrogen boiler. The above example reckons 4289 Euro, but we can reduce this in line with lower heat demand. Hydrogen consumption should in theory be the same as gas in our UK example, 15000 KWh.

According to the study, the cost of hydrogen is 147 Euro/MWh, or £122. (This assumes electrolysis).  This of course is more than four times the cost of natural gas, meaning annual bills would rise from £375 to £1830.

This is something which I have been highlighting for years, but most people are still blissfully unaware of it.


Finally, last year Andrew Montford published a factsheet on hydrogen, which concluded that green hydrogen would cost £190/MWh. If he is right, heating bills will rise much higher still.




January 3, 2022 at 12:09PM

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