A Dutch consortium led by the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) and the social housing organization Woningcorporaties, has connected an existing residential building located at TU Delft's campus to an underground hydrogen network that is now meeting all demand for space heating and hot water.
The project, called H2@Home, is the first of its kind in continental Europe as it combines an underground-pipeline hydrogen network similar to a natural gas network and hydrogen pipes that run through the building and are connected to an H2 heating boiler in the attic.
According to the research group, hydrogen has a lower energy density than natural gas and, when existing infrastructure is used, the hydrogen flow rate must be increased considerably in order to meet the same energy demand. “These high speeds and volumes are expected to result in noise pollution and undesirable resonances in the indoor installation,” they also warned. “Moreover, hydrogen is very flammable and colorless and odorless, which are all properties that require additional safety and management measures for the use of hydrogen.”
The building's existing gas pressure regulators and the smart gas supply shut-off, which were not immediately suitable for the application of hydrogen, needed to be adjusted, as well as the gas meter and piping. Furthermore, the researchers added a communication module for the network operators to ensure the system's safety, through monitoring.
Through the proposed configuration, the building's residents should not perceive any difference in use, warmth, and comfort compared to a system based on a conventional central heating boiler.
The system and of all its components have been online since November and will be tested until July 2022.
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