Skip to main content

Is Hydrogen Safe for Cities?

Academic lead
Alison Tomlin (Chemical and Process Engineering)
Amirul Khan (Civil Engineering)
Project themes
Reacting flows, mixing and safety

The decarbonisation of heat will be a critical part of the UK’s plans to meet the 80% CO2 reduction targets set out in the UK Climate Change Act. Current proposals include the use of electric based air and ground based heat pumps as well as the use of hydrogen in domestic boilers, fires and cookers. The use of hydrogen is attractive since the gas network in many parts of the UK could easily accept the change from natural gas, whereas the current electricity network may struggle with additional load in highly populated areas. Hydrogen could be produced from steam reforming of methane, with the carbon sequestered, or from renewable electricity sources using electrolysis. Questions remain however related to the safety of transporting hydrogen around densely populated cities due to its highly flammable nature and the possibility of leakages from the gas network and from domestic devices. Leeds is at the forefront of proposals for the use of hydrogen as a fuel in cities and the H21 Leeds City Gate project is gathering momentum.
In order to progress plans, studies on the safety of transporting hydrogen need to be carried out. This project aims to assess the safety risks associated with transporting hydrogen through city pipe networks and buildings. It will assess the potential for explosion risk following accidental releases.