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SGN ready to deliver 100% green hydrogen network

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UK gas distribution network company SGN reports it is ready to deliver what it claims will be the world’s first 100% green hydrogen-to-homes network for heating.

If proposals are approved by the energy industry regulator Ofgem, an initial 300 homes in Levenmouth, Fife, will have access to hydrogen for heating and cooking within two to three years. The project, called H100 Fife, will start construction in late 2020/early 2021 and is intended to provide critical evidence for 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 (NIC). SGN is now preparing to submit its full bid for funding this summer, which if successful, will allow it to build a new, 100% zero carbon hydrogen network, using hydrogen produced through electrolysis powered by an offshore wind turbine. The proposed hydrogen production, storage and network will run along-side the current natural gas system, demonstrating every aspect of a hydrogen-to-homes, end-to-end system to support plans for large scale roll-out in the future.

The system will be designed and built to ensure at least the same safety and reliability standards expected from the current gas system. On site storage 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 series of projects from all the UK’s gas network companies to demonstrate the potential role of hydrogen for heat through utilising the UK’s world class gas network. Together, the networks comprise of over 280,000 km of pipes connected to 23mn homes and businesses.  Decarbonisation of the gas networks is necessary in order to achieve the Scottish and UK government’s net zero emissions targets by 2045 and 2050 respectively. The industry seeks to demonstrate 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 valuable insights into customer appetite and interest for hydrogen. Eligible residents 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.

A five-year fully operational phase is planned from 2022/2023 ahead of heat policy decisions expected in 2023/2024.

Photo: SGN

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