Lochem starts trial with hydrogen in monumental buildings

Monuments also need to be made more sustainable. But this is often difficult because the appearance of facades and roofs may not be changed.

This means that insulation or, for example, the installation of solar panels is not possible. Without insulation, installing a heat pump is not useful because they work with low temperature heating. A poorly or uninsulated house cannot be heated with a fully electric heat pump.

Houses which are difficult to insulate

Hybrid heat pumps also work better in an insulated house. Hydrogen can offer a solution for buildings where insulation is impossible. Hydrogen can meet the heat demand in a central heating boiler in a similar way to natural gas. It can also be used in hybrid heat pumps.

In theory this sounds wonderful, but whether it works in practice remains to be seen. So this week a trial is starting in Lochem to heat fifteen monumental villas with hydrogen. The hydrogen project is part of the national HyDelta research program that is investigating the safe application of hydrogen in the existing gas, transport and distribution networks.

Hydrogen demonstration project

This is not the first time that hydrogen is being tested in the built environment. In Delft, a trial is running with a house on the campus of the Technical University where hydrogen replaces natural gas for making hot water. A feasibility study is also underway in De villages Graft-de Rijp, part of Alkmaar, on the application of hydrogen for heating historic buildings.

The project in Lochem is being carried out by engineering firm Ekinetix together with industrial gas supplier Westfalen, grid operator Alliander and the municipality of Lochem. Commercial director of Ekinetix Jaco Reijerkerk emphasizes that this is a demonstration project and that broad application of hydrogen in the built environment is still a long way off. “There is still too little green hydrogen available. Nevertheless, it is important to gain practical knowledge now in order to apply it more broadly from around 2030.”