Hydrogen for heating? Decarbonization options for households in Germany in 2050

By 2030, the German government aims to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the buildings sector by two-thirds relative to 1990 levels. The heating sector will be an important part of this goal; in German residences, about 60% of final energy demand goes to space heating, and two-thirds of space heating is met with fossil fuels. There are multiple GHG-reduction options available to the heating sector, and the German government will need to determine which options to promote, especially in light of the fact that 17% of German households spend a high share of their income on energy costs. In this study, assess several low-GHG or GHG-neutral residential heating pathways in Germany to determine which will be the most cost competitive in 2050: (1) hydrogen boilers, (2) hydrogen fuel cells with an auxiliary hydrogen boiler for cold spells, (3) air-source heat pumps using renewable electricity, and (4) heat pumps with an auxiliary hydrogen boiler for cold spells.