A neighbourhood of 300 homes in the east of Scotland has been selected to test a new hydrogen power network in the next three years.
The National Grid will provide green hydrogen gas to the project, known as H100, which will be blended with natural gas. Initially, 20% of the gas supplied will be hydrogen, which will be gradually increased.
This is the first time the National Grid has offered anything other than natural gas through its distribution network.
The homes chosen for the project are located in the former mining areas of Buckhaven and Methil, in Levenmouth on the Fife coast. Households will be offered free hydrogen ready boilers and cookers, and the scheme will initially take place over a five year period.
The hydrogen will be produced using wind power to split water to produce oxygen and hydrogen, which can be stored in tanks and used to power homes.
The wind power will be provided by the 200 metre wind turbine built on the shoreline of Buckhaven, which generates green energy and is part funded by the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (OFGEM).
Since 2016, the facilities of the Catapult Offshore Renewable Energy’s Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine (LTD) project have been used by 98 companies and powered nearly 7,500 homes. LDT is an open-access offshore wind turbine dedicated to research and development, hosting the industry’s innovations for testing and validation. The facility offers developers the chance to demonstrate new systems and methods, and reduces the time and costs associated with testing new innovations at a working offshore wind farm.
The government hopes that three million homes in the UK can be supplied with low-carbon hydrogen by 2030. Home heating is estimated to cause as much as a third of the UK’s carbon emissions but replacing natural gas with hydrogen is not seen as a main solution to making home heating more ‘green’, and is currently more expensive to produce than gas.
However, this may change if the H100 project can be sufficiently scaled up.