Fife has leapt closer to launching the world’s first 100% green hydrogen network with the announcement of an £18 million funding boost.
Three hundred homes across Levenmouth will be connected to the network, with residents becoming the first in the world to use zero carbon hydrogen for heating and cooking.
Householders will be invited to get involved in the four to five year trial from late next year.
Energy regulator Ofgem has awarded funding to gas network company SGN to build its H100 Fife hydrogen demonstration project at the energy park in Methil.
The trial has been hailed as a revolutionary, with the potential to cut carbon emissions while improving the Fife economy.
It will see the initial 300 customers given a free hydrogen connection, free replacement hydrogen appliances and free maintenance over the length of the project.
SGN said the hydrogen appliances would connect to the existing pipes for zero carbon cooking and heating.
New hydrogen-ready boilers will be provided but there will be no need to replace radiators or plumbing and households will pay the same as for natural gas.
The project aims to demonstrate how renewable energy produced by offshore wind can generate a secure and reliable supply of green hydrogen to heat homes.
“Levenmouth residents will be at the centre of this energy revolution.”
If successful, homes and businesses across the UK could eventually receive hydrogen heating via 170,000 miles of pipes.
It is the latest in a number of significant investments in Levenmouth and Fife Council co-leaders David Ross and David Alexander said they very much welcomed the opportunities it would bring.
“We are very pleased that SGN has successfully secured funding from Ofgem for what is a significant step forward towards Fife Energy Park in Methil hosting the world’s first 100% hydrogen network for heating,” they said.
“With H100 Fife as the latest development in the Energy Park, we welcome the growth of inward investments to improve the local economy.
“The Levenmouth Reconnected Progamme is also working in the area to create benefits for local people, businesses and visitors in line with the rail link extension.
“The Leven Programme is set to transform the River Leven and surrounding environment, tackling carbon emissions and adapting to climate change.
“Together these programmes will secure a bright future for the area, improve the economy, while creating more local jobs and a better environment.”
New pipe network
Hydrogen for the network will be produced through electrolysis powered by an offshore wind turbine.
The hydrogen production, storage and a hydrogen appliance demonstration home will be built at the energy park, which is owned by Scottish Enterprise and leased to SGN for the project.
A new pipe network will run alongside the current natural gas system and customers will get the choice of staying with natural gas or switching to green hydrogen.
SGN’s director of energy futures Angus McIntosh said Fife would be playing a vital role in leading Britain’s transition to a net zero energy system.
“Using hydrogen for heat could save energy customers across Britain billions of pounds as the energy system adapts to deliver net zero,” he said.
“Levenmouth residents will be at the centre of this energy revolution, as together we prove the existing gas network is able to deliver hydrogen, potentially reaching net zero with less cost and disruption than other zero carbon alternatives.”
The H100 Fife project is said to fully align with the Scottish and UK governments’ ambition to decarbonise the economy over the next 30 years.
As well as £18m from Ofgem, £6.9m will come from the Scottish Government, along with further funding from SGN shareholders and Britain’s three other gas distribution networks.