At the EIC we are dedicated to driving advancements in clean and sustainable energy solutions. Recently, a member of our team had the opportunity to visit Northern Gas Networks NGN’s Hydrogen homes and Customer Energy Village at their InTEGReL facility in Gateshead.
The Hydrogen homes are a pair of innovative properties fitted with hydrogen appliances (boilers, cookers, fires etc.) to demonstrate how a hydrogen fueled property could look. The Customer Energy Village is a pioneering project exploring the use of retrofit measures to improve energy efficiency in homes. The village is currently under construction and will consist of diverse properties from different eras that are representative of the UK’s housing, serving as a live test bed for engineers to assess the effectiveness of a wide variety of decarbonisation and energy efficiency measures. By integrating hydrogen into boilers, heating, and cooking systems, the project aims to identify sustainable alternatives for existing housing stock.
The Energy Village: A Test Bed for Innovation
The Customer Energy Village is a groundbreaking initiative that tackles the challenge of retrofitting technologies to the existing housing stock in the UK in order to reduce energy usage. This village will comprise of properties from across the 20th century, each built using construction materials and methods specific to its era. These diverse buildings will serve as a test and demonstration site for SMEs and engineers to explore and evaluate the suitability and effectiveness of innovative technologies in different properties.
Harnessing the Power of Hydrogen
Hydrogen is an abundant and clean energy source that has immense potential in fueling homes of the future. In the context of the facility, hydrogen is being tested for its applicability in various systems, such as boilers, heating, and cooking appliances. By integrating hydrogen fuel into these residential properties, the project aims to assess its viability as a sustainable alternative to traditional energy sources.
A Solution for the Energy and Carbon Crisis
As we face an energy and carbon crisis, initiatives like the Energy Village are vital for advancing research, innovation, and the transition to more sustainable energy systems. The project aims to identify vulnerabilities, explore new digital technologies, and develop solutions that support the UK Government's Net Zero 2050 Strategy.
Retrofitting for a Cleaner Future
Retrofitting existing housing stock plays a crucial role in achieving our net-zero targets by 2050. With some of the most inefficient housing stock in Europe, the UK must accelerate its efforts to retrofit properties with sustainable solutions. By utilising the Energy Village as a test bed for various retrofittable technologies, we can determine the most effective and efficient approaches for different property types. This knowledge will inform future design solutions and pave the way for large-scale retrofitting.
The InTEGRel facility is a shining example of how hydrogen can be harnessed to fuel homes in the future. By leveraging the Energy Village, invaluable insights will be gained into the retrofitting of decarbonisation technologies. It was a fantastic opportunity for an EIC Engineer to take a tour of the site and see how the project is progressing.
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