The University of Southampton

If the UK is serious about improving air quality, reducing pollution and preventing green house gas emissions we need to decarbonise our electricity, our transport and our heating systems.

The Bad News:

The UK can't simply convert to plug-in cars and electric central heating systems - we can’t generate enough electricity to do this, the national grid isn’t laid out to deliver the power and energy required, and the conversion would be very expensive.

The Good News:

The UK should invest in multiple solutions including:

  • Smart Grids to allow multiple generators of 'green' electricity to feed into the grid (instead of the 'one way' traffic of electricity from powerstations to consumers that we have today).
  • Smart Grids to balance demand and supply so that we all have a reliable electricity supply.
  • Hydrogen to be fed to our houses through our existing gas grid to power our central heating and cooking. 
  • Hydrogen as the obvious fuel for the UK’s cars, HGVs, buses and trains - it's clean, quick to refuel and doesn't put a strain on the UK electricity system.

The UK is fortunate that we have the infrastructure of thousands of kilometres of gas pipes to transport the hydrogen into homes, offices, hospitals and shops.

The UK is fortunate that we can use excess windpower to electrolyse water to make hydrogen, This is a way of storing excess green electricity.

It's unlikely that the UK can move over completely to be an electrically powered country – but combining wind power, solar power and other forms of microgeneration for electricity ALONG WITH hydrogen for heating and transport is an obvious way forward.