The social value of green gas – rural area case study

The availability of green gas will continue to be limited, including by 2030. And yet for many natural gas users, green gas is a financially attractive and easy way to replace natural gas and thus become more sustainable. The deployment of green gas provides significant social value, whereas alternatives are relatively costly and complex. CE Delft, commissioned by Programma Aardgasvrije Wijken Nieuwolda-Wagenborgen [Programme for gas-free neighbourhoods Nieuwolda-Wagenborgen] in collaboration with N-TRA, has studied the value of green gas in rural areas.

This study is an extension of a previously published study in which we compared a total of 14 sustainable heating alternatives for an industrial boiler, a home in an old city centre and the propulsion of a large sea container ship.

Green gas has a higher social value in rural areas, as it does in old city centres, than it does for an industrial boiler or propelling a large sea container ship.

We conclude this based on our earlier study and by extending the comparison of five sustainable options with an energy-efficient natural gas boiler in an average Dutch rural area:

  • green gas energy-efficient boiler;
  • hybrid heat pump using green gas;
  • air-to-water heat pump;
  • energy-efficient hydrogen boiler using electrolysis;
  • energy-efficient boiler using blue hydrogen (blue hydrogen is derived from natural gas).

After the hybrid heat pump using green gas, an energy-efficient boiler using blue hydrogen is the least expensive option for rural areas. The additional costs per tonne of CO2 avoided compared to an energy-efficient boiler using natural gas are almost twice as high as the green gas option (hybrid heat pump). This is also the case in the old city centre, while the alternatives of an industrial boiler and a large sea container ship are relatively less expensive.