First green hydrogen heating network gets go ahead in Scotland

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Scottish and Southern Gas Networks (SGN) has been given the go ahead to demonstrate green hydrogen heating in customers’ homes.

The H100 Fife project set in the Levenmouth area of Fife on Scotland’s southeast coast aims to develop a demonstration hydrogen network delivering carbon-free heating and cooking to around 300 homes from the end of 2022.

The project, one of five approved in the latest round of regulator Ofgem’s Network Innovation Competition, has been awarded up to £18 million ($24 million). This in turn has triggered a further £6.9 million ($9.3 million) from the Scottish government.

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SGN intends to develop a hydrogen production and storage facility, with an associated hydrogen demonstration facility, at Energy Park Fife in Levenmouth. The facility will be powered from a nearby offshore wind turbine.

Green hydrogen from the facility will be delivered into a new distribution network, laid in parallel to the existing gas network, so that other gas customers can continue receiving their normal supply.

Customer participation is intended on an opt-in basis. Participating customers will receive a free hydrogen connection, free replacement hydrogen appliances and free maintenance over the length of the project. They will pay the same rate for hydrogen gas as they would pay for natural gas.

“We’re delighted that stakeholders have recognised the critical importance of H100 Fife, which is designed to demonstrate hydrogen distribution and in-home performance in a real-world setting,” says Angus McIntosh, director of energy futures at SGN.

“It’s an exciting opportunity to revolutionise the way millions of people heat their homes. The hydrogen appliances will connect to the existing pipes in the home for zero carbon heating and cooking with minimal disruption and with no need to replace existing radiators or plumbing.”

H100 Fife is considered a world first as to date there is no precedent for using electrolyser technologies to supply 100% hydrogen for use in buildings, Ofgem’s Network Innovation Competition assessment panel commented in its report.

A key outcome is to test consumer acceptability of hydrogen in homes. If successful it would give impetus to the role of hydrogen in decarbonisation, which brings with it the need for repurposing of the gas network.

SGN anticipates that with a phased expansion of the rollout, a hydrogen economy could be fully established in Fife in advance of 2045 with half of the rollout of hydrogen to gas customers, around 70,000 customers, in place by 2040. The successful completion of this full programme would save some 430,000t of CO2.

Moreover, the avoided cost of electrification to the more than 140,000 customers amounts to an NPV of £1.6 billion ($2.4 billion).