Hydrogen ready boiler – Compare the best hydrogen ready combi boilers
As the world gears towards attaining net-zero carbon emissions, heating and hot water solutions for homes will have to undergo fundamental changes to adapt to various new technologies and contribute to decarbonizing heat.
Several approaches are already being implemented, from heat interface units (HIU) for flats and apartment complexes to a heat pump capable of heating and cooling, and new boilers that can use environmentally friendly hydrogen gas for fuel.
What is a Hydrogen Ready Boiler?
In anticipation of the gas boiler ban, Hydrogen-ready boilers are natural gas boilers that are capable of running on up to a 20% mix of hydrogen and natural gas in the existing gas network.
As an alternative to gas boilers, Hydrogen-ready gas boilers can then in the future be changed and amended with a few small parts changed to run on 100% hydrogen fuel.
Why should we use hydrogen gas instead of natural gas?
Hydrogen gas has up to three times the energy density per mass of natural gas. As it produces energy, it combines with oxygen to form water, and there are no carbon dioxide or methane emissions.
Hydrogen heating is environmentally friendly and is considered the best alternative to natural gas for heating applications like boilers. The current existing gas network can also be used to send hydrogen gas to homes.
Most forward-thinking manufacturers have started designing hydrogen-ready boilers in anticipation of the move to burning hydrogen gas and green energy, and we will sample some of their best boiler units a bit further down, so keep reading.
What are the downsides to hydrogen boilers?
We are, however, not yet at a point where we can fully burn hydrogen gas due to a few challenges that are unique to hydrogen as an energy source:
- Pure hydrogen doesn’t occur naturally in large quantities on earth and has to be extracted from fossil fuels or biomass sources. We are yet to perfect extraction techniques to get the quantities needed to sustain our demand without supplementing it with other fuels.
- Because of the extraction handicaps, the thermal efficiency of the hydrogen we produce is rarely at 100% of its potential. It averages between 65 and 80%, which still can’t justify a complete overhaul.
- Hydrogen is also the smallest element, so it has a high propensity to leak from our network of natural gas pipes, making it difficult to transport and store. Researchers continuously develop appropriate storage media so that hydrogen can be supplied as easily as gas. Hydrogen is highly flammable with low ignition and high combustion energy and should be handled responsibly.
Is burning hydrogen as fuel the future of home heating?
That being said, it is the fuel of the future, and your favourite boiler brand should be at the advanced stages of developing hydrogen-ready boilers.
The combi boiler options we are about to review can handle fuel with a hydrogen concentration of up to 20%. This is arguably the highest level of hydrogen readiness for boilers in the current market.
You can learn more about how hydrogen-ready boilers work from our detailed breakdown. They are already lowering the carbon footprint through efficient natural gas and LPG use.
Best Hydrogen Ready Boiler UK
Take a look at some of the best natural gas boilers that are hydrogen ready and available right now. All the top brands such as Worcester Bosch, Viessmann, Ideal, and more have all their types of boilers capable of running on a mix of hydrogen gas and natural gas. Take a look at some of the best combi boiler and system boilers to buy in the UK.
Compare the best hydrogen ready boilers here
Worcester Bosch Greenstar 4000 hydrogen ready combi
Coming from a world-renowned market leader in the natural gas boiler industry, the new Worcester Bosch 4000 hydrogen ready boiler deserves a prime place on this list. This hydrogen-ready boiler is available as a combi boiler and a system boiler.
The Worcester 4000 combi boilers are offered with either a 25kW or 30kW output providing 9 and 10.8 litres per minute of hot water respectively at 40°C. They are quieter and more efficient than their predecessors, at only a fraction of the size. The lightweight and compact units can fit neatly in an average kitchen cupboard and keep working quietly.
Easy to install using Worcester Bosch SimpleSwitch
These Worcester bosch 4000 hydrogen-ready boilers are part of the Greenstar SimpleSwitch installation models, including Greenstar i Junior combi, Si combi, i ErP, i System, and i System ErP models. SimpleSwitch means their installation points are modular, and you can easily swap out one of these models for the other.
Their fixing points, pipe centres, and distances from the flues to the valves are identical, and the SimpleSwitch flue adaptor ensures you can keep using the existing flue hole through the building’s fabric.
The Worcester Bosch 4000 hydrogen-ready boiler comes with a wall frame that enables pre-piping of all wall pipe connections before hanging the boiler, and they can all use the same pressure-reducing valve (PRV) pipework. PRV pipework is otherwise difficult and expensive to replace, and transitioning to the Worcester Bosch 4000 shouldn’t be a painful experience.
The piping also goes straight back into the wall if it’s your first Greenstar or you don’t need the SimpleSwitch advantage.
Easy access to the boiler with removable panels
There is frontal accessibility to all the key components, making installation, servicing, and maintenance easy. These hydrogen ready boilers also pioneered the eco-friendly LCD colour control display that is easy to use and serves as a system monitor.
The Greenstar 4000 boilers also have wireless connectivity courtesy of the Bosch EasyControl thermostat that modulates the boiler and can communicate wirelessly with their EasyControl app. The app allows access for up to 6 separate users.
Worcester Bosch maintains that all their condensing gas boilers introduced after the year 2000 can accept hydrogen blends of up to 20%, meaning they are eco-friendly. This is a giant leap towards embracing sustainable carbon-free fuels. Their wide power range also reduces gas consumption, and their ‘Quick Tap’ water-saving function minimizes water wastage.
Hydrogen ready Worcester Bosch boiler warranty
Each Worcester bosch hydrogen ready boiler comes with a standard guarantee of seven years, extended to eight years if you use a Greenstar System filter.
It can be extended up to 10 years with an extra £150 or free if you use a Worcester Accredited Installer (WAI) or Partner (WAP) participating in their Excelerate program.
Viessmann Vitodens 050-W hydrogen ready combi boiler
The Viessmann Vitodens 050-w hydrogen ready combi boiler can be customized for modern buildings to fit just as well as older buildings, courtesy of an arsenal of compatible accessories.
It will adequately replace a variety of older units. Its compact profile allows multiple mounting options that will not interfere with the room’s ambience, whether it’s a flat or a small apartment.
Good flow rate for compact combi boilers
The direct hot water output of the Vitodens 050-w combi boiler has an impressive range from 5.9 to 29.3kW, enhancing effectiveness. These natural gas boilers use combined actions of a premium stainless-steel Inox-Radial heat exchanger and a modulating stainless-steel cylinder burner also reduces its energy consumption.
High efficiency hydrogen ready combi boiler
The Vitodens 050-w has an efficiency rating of 97%, so the carbon footprint is kept to a minimum, and the unit doesn’t strain, increasing its service cycles. Service and maintenance are not a pain, thanks to the convenient frontal accessibility of all the serviceable parts.
With a domestic hot water (DHW) flow rate of 12 litres per minute at 35° rise the Vitodens 050-w is sufficient for the needs of a small to medium-sized house with one bathroom. The rate is kept consistent via an integral booster function. It comes with a vertical flue system with which you can connect up to five boilers on different floors for easier management.
Very quiet combi boiler
The extremely quiet Vitodens 050-W comes with an integrated electronic boiler control unit that allows you to switch between thermostatic and weather compensating modes. A temperature sensor for the external weather should be added as an accessory to enjoy this feature.
One of the most compact hydrogen ready combi boilers
It is a quiet unit that is also very compact and can be conveniently mounted in any room or kitchen cupboard. You can also set up the controls manually when necessary.
Viessmann offers a three-year warranty with each unit extended by seven years if a Viessmann trained installer installs the unit. This means you get a 10 years warranty on this hydrogen-ready boiler.
Ideal Logic hydrogen ready combi boiler
The Ideal Logic hydrogen ready combi boiler has been accredited for its quiet operation, which is no mean feat considering the competition within and out of our list.
It also has the 2013 Queen’s Award for Enterprise and Housekeeping Reader Recommended Status in 2013, 2017, and 2018.
Energy efficient combi boiler
It comes with a weather compensation kit that measures the outside temperature and adjusts the water flow temperature to compensate for the difference. This keeps the house temperature consistent, enhances efficiency, and enables savings on the cost of fuel. It also comes with a pre-heat function which allows you to save on energy and water.
Easy to use LCD display
An easy-to-use backlit LCD with both symbols and text allows you to set up the boiler even with poor visibility, and you can review the current settings while it is mounted. The pressure gauge is also easily visible. It is Touch RF and Touch Connect compatible, meaning wireless control is also possible from the comfort of your seat.
The lightweight, compact unit will fit easily in your cupboard and won’t interfere with your kitchen arrangement. It comes with a 7-year parts and labour warranty for added peace of mind.
Viessmann Vitodens 100-W hydrogen ready boilers
This installment of Viessmann Vitodens 100-w hydrogen ready boilers is available in 35kW, 30kW, and 26kW versions.
The Vitodens 100-w is ideal for small to medium homes with one or two bathrooms, although the 26kW model is not powerful enough for a house with more than one bathroom. They are wall-mounted, and because they don’t require a tank can fit snugly in restricted places.
Stainless steel heat exchanger
The boilers feature stainless steel Inox-Radial heat exchangers resistant to corrosion and heat damage, promoting durability supported by a 10-year warranty. The boiler comes with a standard 5-year warranty
Pre heat function
It has a pre-heat function and can produce instant hot water without wastage as you wait for the water to heat up. This efficiency is further enhanced by its DHW water output range of between 8 and 30kW, significantly reducing energy wastage.
Higher flow rates for combi boilers
The flow rate can go as high as 14.3 litres per minute which keeps the showers running sufficiently even when the 2 of them are working concurrently.
Installation is convenient and fast thanks to the combination of the pressure release valve (PRV) and condensate connections, reducing the number of pipes required. The horizontal flue pipe makes it even more fitting. It has an easy-to-connect kit for conversion to LPG.
Its serviceable parts are easily accessible for service and maintenance.
Worcester Bosch Greenstar 2000 hydrogen ready combi boiler
Like the Greenstar 4000 combi, the Worcester Bosch 2000 hydrogen ready combi boiler models can also operate with up to 20% hydrogen concentration in natural gas, a step in the right direction towards improved energy efficiency and lower carbon emissions from homes and buildings.
2 different outputs
This hydrogen-ready natural gas boiler comes in two versions, a 25kW and a 30kW model, so you can choose the one that best suits your heating needs. Being an entry-level model, you will find that the prices are affordable, and you don’t have to break the bank with your first gas boiler installation.
These gas boilers are also covered by a standard 5-year guarantee extended to six years if you use a Greenstar system filter. This is a testament to Worcester Bosch’s confidence in the quality and durability of these units.
Wall-mounted hydrogen ready combi boiler
The Worcester 2000 hydrogen ready boilers are designed to be mounted on the wall, and you can install them directly on your water mains.
The compact size is sufficient to fit in wall-mounted kitchen cupboards, and because this is the quietest Worcester Bosch combi boiler currently available, they successfully deliver your heating solutions without drawing attention to themselves.
They are compatible with multiple external third-party controls and even more Worcester Bosch controls which they connect to mechanically or wirelessly. This enables versatility and convenience in usage.
Energy-efficient gas combi boilers
These natural gas boilers come with C6 heat exchangers capable of modulating down to 4.8kW to optimize efficiency, whose guarantee periods have extended to 10 years.
Their efficiency rating is boosted further by the Worcester Bosch Quick Tap water-saving feature, which enables instant access to hot water without the mandatory wastage we were previously used to as we waited for hot water to get to our showers and taps.
When you open and immediately close a tap, you will trigger the heat exchanger to get to the set temperature, and within 30 seconds, you can get hot water if you open the tap again. There are handy side panels that allow access to all the essential parts so the boilers can be serviced and repaired without struggle.
Why choose a hydrogen-ready combi boiler instead of other home heating options?
Combi boilers are a popular heating solution for many reasons, making them more preferred than conventional and system heating systems or heat pumps.
Their mode of operation is efficient because they only heat water that you need when you need it. There is no wasted energy heating up water that will cool down in a storage tank and require heating again. This is eco-friendly, sustainable and will extend the lifetime of your equipment.
Hot Water on Demand
They also ensure hot water is available on-demand as water is heated from the source and only takes a few seconds to heat up. You don’t need to develop strict routines or set up timers like conventional and domestic boilers. This heating system removes the fear that the person in front of you in the shower will exhaust all the hot water, forcing you to wait for the next run.
Good for Small Spaces
Combi boilers occupy relatively small spaces because, as their name suggests, they perform duties that would otherwise require multiple units. You get a heater and a hot water source in a single appliance, eliminating hot water storage tanks or cylinders.
Their compactness and small footprints allow you to enjoy the benefits even in small apartments with limited space. They can fit under the stairs, utility rooms or even kitchen cabinets.
Hydrogen ready combi boilers are highly cost-effective for several reasons. We have already established that their operation doesn’t waste energy warming water unless required, and you don’t need a hot water tank. These already imply conservation of energy, saving on fuel costs.
You also don’t have to invest in a tank, its installation costs, and the supporting pipework and equipment if you get a combi boiler. Replacing the parts when they finally give in after years of service is cheaper for a combi boiler. There are fewer parts to think about, and they are also cheaper and easier to install.
A new hydrogen ready boiler cost the same as a standard natural gas boiler.
High Hygiene Standards
Water hygiene standards from new combi boilers are also higher than other heating systems like heat pumps and conventional boilers, especially because no tank is required. There are no spaces to harbour sludge and its associated pathogens and debris.
The water is heated straight from the main supply while it is still fresh and what you get from your taps and showers is clean and safe as the source.
Will hydrogen replace natural gas boilers?
It has been said that by the time 2026 rolls around, any natural gas boilers installed will then need to be hydrogen ready. There are no 100% hydrogen boilers available, although some larger boiler manufacturers have begun making hydrogen boiler prototypes.
A hydrogen ready boiler vs a heat pump – which is best?
Hydrogen is a much more efficient fuel than gas. The composition of hydrogen also contains more energy than gas. This means that a home would require less hydrogen for heating than a gas boiler. This also benefits the pressure on the network when the demand for heating is high.
Hydrogen production can supply more homes than a gas appliance and a heat pump. You can see why a hydrogen ready boiler may be considered a better option than a heat pump for all these reasons.
Why is an alternative to gas heating needed?
The UK is committed to reducing emissions to zero by 2050. For this to happen, the government has to take drastic action. Their plan and overall industrial strategy is to put a gas boiler pan in effect as early as 2025. Hydrogen production as an alternative to gas heating is a good and viable low-carbon alternative.
What is the difference between green hydrogen and blue hydrogen?
When learning more about hydrogen production, you want to understand the difference between green hydrogen and blue hydrogen. Green hydrogen is produced using water electrolysis, while blue hydrogen uses natural gas. Governments consider green hydrogen as a valuable and sustainable energy resource.