Construction on the world’s first hydrogen heating grid will begin next year in Fife – with the aim of connecting the first customers to the future fuel in 2023.

A row of terraced houses will be built alongside the warehouses and cranes of  Fife Energy Park as a demonstration of how hydrogen can be used as an eco-friendly alternative to natural gas to heat and power homes.

Those who visit the project and find themselves persuaded can then sign up to try hydrogen for themselves in their own homes – with project leader SGN providing appliances for the trial.

Angus McIntosh, director of energy futures at SGN, said: “One of the main benefits of using hydrogen to deliver net zero is that it will involve very little disruption to homeowners and work within a heating system for which so many have a preference.

“Levenmouth residents will be at the centre of this energy revolution and we’ll work closely with key local stakeholders throughout to make sure the benefits of this project are delivered with the local community in mind.”

Local councillors approved SGN’s bid to create the H100 Fife Hydrogen project in Methil last week, hailing it as a “fantastic initiative”.

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Council case officer Martin McGroarty described the houses as “incongruous” in the setting of the energy park – but made no secret of the importance of the project, thought to be the first of its kind.

“It will look like three normal terraced houses,” he said.

“Thereafter once the demo is completed the aim is to sign local people up to use hydrogen rather than natural gas.

“This is an important project. It will show why hydrogen is a good thing…not just for Levenmouth or Fife but nationally and internationally as well.

“Fife Council has declared a climate emergency and is invested in projects like this that will provide a way forward in zero-carbon heat.”

HeraldScotland:

Hydrogen has been hailed as a fuel of the future because it creates no carbon emissions and can be generated from renewable sources. The only by-product of burning hydrogen is water, along with trace elements of nitrogen oxide gases.

The hydrogen for the H100 project will be created using an electrolyser driven by a wind-powered turbine. It uses electricity to seperate hydrogen from oxygen in water, and stores the hydrogen in six storage tanks that have also been approved as part of SGN’s application.

Up to 100 tonnes of hydrogen can be produced and stored at the facility per year – enough to supply gas to hundreds of homes in Levenmouth, for those who are interested in trialling it.

SGN opted for Methil after embarking on a UK-wide search for the ideal site at which to trial its 100% hydrogen network, impressed by both Fife Energy Park and the availability of off-shore wind turbines to drive the electrolyser.

It aims to have the first customers signed up to the project by the end of next year – with a promise to return customers to their old natural gas supply if they try hydrogen and ultimately decide it isn’t for them.

However, with the UK Government aiming to scrap gas boilers in newbuild homes from 2025, the market for hydrogen boilers and hobs is looking increasingly healthy.

Copy supplied by Jon Brady, Local Democracy Reporter