Network Dec/Jan 2020

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"NETWORK / 33 / DECEMBER 2019 / JANUARY 2020 heat pumps, a great solution for new homes. However, I wouldn't be so convinced on installing these into the majority of exist- ing homes. For a heat pump to work efficiently, you need to keep the flow temperature as low as possible, ideally around 40 to 50 degrees Celsius. With this lower flow temperature, you need larger radiators than most homes would presently have, larger diameter pipework and better insulation. All of this is quite expensive and invasive. Consequently, if we could use an existing heating system and use a carbon-free boiler, we'd be hitting the jackpot. This is where hydrogen comes into play. Whilst I can picture electric systems – such as heat pumps –being the norm for new builds, I simply don't see how these would beat a hydrogen alternative for existing homes. We see boilers in today's market that are able to run on 20 per cent hydrogen. Unfortu - nately, this isn't good enough for our net-zero targets, therefore I believe that over at Worcester Bosch we are set to have the so - lution. A 100 per cent hydrogen boiler has been created in our lab, so I know that the best solu- tion rides on this clean gas. From this boiler, you could be running along smoothly with natural gas, and when hydro- gen was ready to be used in your home, an easy transition would be made to change over from natural to "clean gas", or hydrogen if you prefer to use the technical name. Whilst not at a production position yet, we certainly do have prototypes up and working. With every step forward with this boiler, I get excited to think about the future of clean heating. A series of trials are going to take place in the next couple of years, where around 300 homes in Scotland will be run on hydrogen. We have a further two expected trial locations in the north of England too. In my opinion, we are inching ever closer to the point where the government can put its faith in hydrogen, just as we have over in Worcester. In fact, I would imagine that the government, say in the late 2020s, will mandate that hydro - gen ready boilers must be fitted into existing properties. This would be a well thought-out plan as then, by 2035, when we get near the time that hydrogen will be ready, the transition won't be disruptive or challeng - ing to a homeowner. If you think about it, the digi- tal TV switchover, completed in the UK between 2007 and 2012, offers an analogy. Whilst not similar in technology, the idea of the transition is the same: get the digital TV ready, and then when we had the analogue to digital switchover, there was minimal disruption. So, taking it back to the million-pound question… is hy - drogen for heating feasible? My answer is absolutely. I've seen it working in our labs with my own two eyes. I see no reason as to why this great, clean gas shouldn't, or won't, be a key part of the changing landscape for heating. As I mentioned earlier, whilst new builds may take up heat pumps, I'm certain that hydro - gen will be used for those exist- ing properties where residents or owners want as little disrup- tion to their lives as possible. Whilst this might not be for a couple of years, I can assure you it'll be worth the wait. Martyn Bridges, director of techni- cal communication and product management at Worcester Bosch DECARBONISATION OF HEAT In the last of our interview series, Network Awards 2020 judge John Parsons, director of digital at the British Electrotechnical and Allied Manufacturers' Association (BEAMA), hopes to find a sector that is clued up on cyber security and digitalisation. Q What did you think about the entries in last year's awards? Last year I was judging the innovation category, I was very impressed by the entries and I'd hope to see more of that high standard. We saw a wide variety of technologies and ideas, it made it a challenge to judge as we were seeing all sorts of different ideas. Q What would is the value of participating in the awards? The value lies in the industry recognition. It's a peer to peer judging process, it's about gaining recognition from your colleagues. In some awards schemes, the audience might be more general, but in the Network Awards, winning means you have impressed your colleagues. Q What would you like to see in the awards submissions? Whenever I'm doing judging, especially for innovation awards, I like to see evidence that the idea or scheme is genu- inely innovative, in other word that it happened recently and hasn't been offered around for several years in a row. And is it genuinely innovative all over the world, or just a step for- ward in one corner of it? As a judge I want an understanding of how the innovation stands in comparison to what others are doing in different markets, eg elsewhere in Europe. And not too much marketing. Last year we read several entries from one company that looked similar, and a bit fluffy. We ignored all the stuff about the company and just focussed on the technical information and the innovation. Q Which issues would you like to see foregrounded? Cyber security would be interesting, I haven't seen much around so entries showing that people are thinking about it. And digitalised asset management, such as using Internet of Things devices to monitor switchgear and transformer status and condition. It will be an important area in the future and one where it would be good to see innovation. Q On cyber security, don't people avoid talking about it out of fear of 'listening ears'? We shouldn't be revealing useful information but I'm always nervous about relying on secrecy to protect systems, the listening ears may well know what's going on anyway! Of course, it's all got to be very secure, with end-to-end encryp - tion. But I feel the topic could do with more of an airing and more discussion. Visit for full details of the 15 categories, and to start your online submission. The entry deadline has been extended until 16 December. N E T W O R K AWA R D S Q & A "Winning means you have impressed your colleagues" AWARDS 2020 "If you think about it, the digital TV switchover, completed in the UK in 2007 to 20012, offers an analogy. Whilst not similar in technology, the idea of the transition is the same"

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