The Foodservice Equipment Association has moved to spike a number of “myths” around hydrogen-led catering equipment.
Hydrogen is a fundamental part of FEA’s carbon net zero plans for the catering equipment industry and is expected to become more prevalent in future generations of equipment.
Falcon Foodservice Equipment recently announced the launch of a series of hydrogen-powered cooking appliances that will allow operators to reduce their carbon emissions.
And the FEA is working with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on the government’s strategy for replacing natural gas with hydrogen in commercial kitchen appliances.
However, the trade body has been surprised by some of the misconceptions surrounding the subject, especially the two most prevalent: that hydrogen isn’t safe, and that it affects the taste of food.
Addressing the safety issue, the FEA said the British Standards Institution (BSI) has published PAS 4444:2020, which covers the development and construction of hydrogen-fired gas appliances, and noted that work is being carried out on further guidance.
Provided manufacturers and installers comply with legislation then the safety requirements are already being met, in the same way that GAR (Gas Appliance Regulation) and the UK equivalent are used for existing gas products.
There are no safety issues with the use of low pressure hydrogen as a replacement for current natural gas and propane, it added.
In terms of the impact on the taste of food, the FEA described this as “a classic misinformed urban tale” and said the claim was “both ridiculous and unsubstantiated”.
It said that the by-product of hydrogen gas cooking is water vapour – so even with hydrogen gas grills, for example, there would be no taint.
“It’s vital that we switch to hydrogen in the future,” said Steve Hobbs, chair of FEA. “Consequently, government needs to support manufacturers in the UK and ensure that they have a level playing field with their European counterparts, for example by matching standards and regulations.
“As several speakers at the recent FEA Industry Conference noted, the UK is a world leader when it comes to meeting carbon net zero targets. Hydrogen-powered commercial cooking equipment is another area where we can and should be a pioneer.”
Several FEA members are currently in the process of developing hydrogen-fired gas appliances, with some starting work on this since as far back as 2015.