The world’s first 100% green hydrogen network will launch in Fife next year after being given the green light.
Hundreds of local households will become the first in the world to use zero carbon hydrogen for heating and cooking during a five-year trial.
If successful, up to 1,000 people will be able to sign up to the network in its initial stage.
And it could eventually expand to homes and businesses across the UK.
Known as the H100 Fife Hydrogen Demonstration Project, the £18 million scheme will be based at Fife Energy Park in Methil, and powered by the giant Ore Catapult wind turbine.
Levenmouth was chosen after a UK-wide search for a site.
Hydrogen can be a cleaner, greener alternative.”
Martin McGroarty, Fife Council.
And the innovative scheme was granted planning permission on Wednesday.
Fife Council planning officer Martin McGroarty said: “The aim is to prove hydrogen can be a cleaner, greener alternative to what we use at the moment.”
Gas network company SGN was granted funding from Ofgem to build the demonstrator earlier this year.
Those taking part in the trial will be given a free hydrogen connection, a free replacement hydrogen boiler and cooking appliances and free maintenance.
The appliances will connect to existing pipes for zero carbon heating and cooking but there will be no need to replace radiators or plumbing.
Householders will pay around the same as for natural gas.
Odour and dust concerns
But while it has been hailed as revolutionary, some local people have expressed concerns about the project.
It will be built on vacant land beside the former BiFab site, now operated by Harland & Wolff, just 20 to 30 metres from the nearest homes.
Twenty people objected to the plans with concerns about hydrogen safety, possible odours, dust plumes and noise.
For safety reasons, the same odour that is added to natural gas will be added to the hydrogen in case of gas leaks.
Mr McGroarty said the odourisation tank would be topped up once a month and conceded there was a potential for smells.
However, he said the westerly wind would most likely carry the odours away from the nearest homes.
“Safety was raised by some locals, particularly those living on the main road close to the site,” he added.
“There was a very successful public meeting that put some of these safety concerns to rest.”
Levenmouth playing ‘a vital role’
The site will include buildings to produce and store hydrogen, offices, an electrical plant room and new, internal roads.
There will also be a demonstration facility made to look like three terraced houses, where members of the public can see for themselves how it works.
SGN’s director energy futures Angus McIntosh said Fife would be playing a vital role in leading Britain’s transition to a net zero energy system.
“Using hydrogen for heat could save customers across Britain billions of pounds as the energy system adapts to deliver net zero,” he said.
“Levenmouth residents will be at the centre of this energy revolution.”