Hydrogen could be used to heat homes in Fife if SGN’s proposals for an initial network are approved by regulator Ofgem. The hydrogen would be produced via an electrolysis plant powered by the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult’s offshore wind turbine system near Levenmouth.
The company said that its H100 Fife project is intended to provide evidence for introduction of a potential zero-carbon energy source, helping to inform the UK’s long-term policy decisions for decarbonisation.
H100 Fife has passed the initial screening submission process for Ofgem’s annual Network Innovation Competition, and a full bid for funding will be submitted this summer. If successful, SGN build a new, 100% zero-carbon hydrogen network in Levenmouth. The proposed hydrogen production and storage system and heating network would run alongside the current natural gas system and be used demonstrate every aspect of a hydrogen-to-homes system to support plans for future roll-out.
“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.”
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 gas network, comprising over 280,000km of pipes connected to 23 million homes and businesses, can provide a pathway to decarbonise heat through hydrogen at low cost, at pace and at scale. SGN said that decarbonisation of the gas networks is necessary in order to achieve the Scottish and UK government carbon net-zero targets by 2045 and 2050 respectively.
The project aims to provide 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 is intended to provide SGN with 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 would allow customers to interact with hydrogen appliances in a home-like setting prior to opting-in.