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World’s first 100% green hydrogen project set for east coast of Scotland

21 May 2020

Fife on the east coast of Scotland has been chosen as the location for the world’s first 100% green hydrogen project if approved by UK energy regulator Ofgem. Gas distribution company SGN has asked Ofgem to approve its plans for the H100 Fife project which will see the production of green hydrogen to replace natural gas for an initial 300 homes.

Fife Energy Park - Image: Flickr / Sludge G
Fife Energy Park - Image: Flickr / Sludge G

In a statement, SGN said that H100 Fife would provide critical evidence for a potential zero carbon energy source, helping to inform the UK’s long-term policy decisions for decarbonisation. SGN will bid for £2.8 million of funding from Ofgem this summer after passing an initial screening submission process for Ofgem’s annual Network Innovation Competition. If successful, a 100% zero-carbon hydrogen network will be built later this year at the Fife Energy Park in Methil, around 17 miles (28km) north of Edinburgh across the Firth of Forth estuary. 

The plans would see hydrogen produced via an electrolysis plant powered by the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult’s nearby offshore wind turbine. The proposed hydrogen production and storage system and heating network will run alongside the current natural gas system, demonstrating every aspect of an end-to-end hydrogen-to-homes system to support plans for large scale roll-out in the future. 

“Hydrogen is an exciting energy vector that at scale could provide similar levels of safe, secure, reliable and affordable energy to what we enjoy now, with minimal disruption for customers,” said Angus McIntosh, Director of Energy Futures at SGN. “The project will provide key national evidence for hydrogen’s role in the UK’s energy transition and critical insight into the customer value proposition of hydrogen for heat”.   

Image: SGN
Image: SGN

The system will be designed and built to ensure at least the same safety and reliability standards expected from the current gas system. An on-site storage unit will hold enough hydrogen to ensure supply won’t be disrupted during even the coldest weather conditions.

H100 Fife is part of the national Gas Goes Green initiative, a collaborative series of projects to prove the viability of hydrogen for heat. They share an objective to demonstrate how the UK’s world class gas network, comprising of over 280,000 km of pipes connected to 23 million homes and businesses, can provide a clear and cost-effective pathway to decarbonise heat through hydrogen at low cost, at pace and at scale. Decarbonisation of the gas networks is necessary in order to achieve the Scottish Government and UK Government carbon net-zero targets by 2045 and 2050 respectively. The industry seeks to evidence that among the alternatives for decarbonising heat, hydrogen offers an attractive, low disruption and lower cost solution for customers. 

The project aims to provide critical insight into hydrogen demand and supply management, security of supply and ‘real world’ asset operation. As well as testing technical and engineering capabilities, the project will provide us with valuable insights into customer appetite and interest for hydrogen. Customers can participate on an opt-in basis, meaning they will have the choice to switch to hydrogen, or remain with their existing natural gas supply. A demonstration facility within the project is proposed to allow customers to interact with hydrogen appliances in a home-like setting prior to opting-in.

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