Skip to content

Trialling hydrogen energy in our homes

  • by JW

“An area of Buckhaven is to become a test-bed for a new technology which – if it works – could end the global energy crisis.” [Andy Beavan, Scottish Mail on Sunday]


Five years ago, hydrogen was seen as the future energy source – with several projects happening in Scotland.

Two years ago, a Fife neighbourhood was leading a green energy revolution:

An ambitious target of using hydrogen to partly power homes in the UK within three years has been set by the National Grid, the BBC has learned. On the east coast of Scotland, a small neighbourhood is playing a key role in this energy revolution. From next year, about 300 homes in Buckhaven, and Methil, in the area of Levenmouth, will be powered by green hydrogen gas in a project called H100. Customers will be offered free hydrogen-ready boilers and cookers in the scheme, which will initially last five and a half years. For the first time in its history, the National Grid (NG) plans to use something other than natural gas in its distribution network and start blending hydrogen with natural gas in the next three years.

There have since been a few bumps along the way, with the ‘world-first’ hydrogen project raising questions about its role in fuelling future homes and suggestions that a report showed risks were deliberately suppressed.

Nevertheless, this week’s Mail asks in a very upbeat piece whether this tiny street in a Fife town really could solve the world’s energy crisis:

Given the disappearance, decades ago, of its fishing and mining, Buckhaven is perhaps not somewhere you would expect to find a sparkling and innovative vision of the future. But beside a once bustling harbour, on the site of what was one of Scotland’s largest collieries, the technology of tomorrow is taking shape: an army of workmen are laying pipes; gleaming equipment is being fitted; vast metal ­cylinders stand in pride of place. For the Fife town is taking part in a pilot project which, without any trace of hyperbole, could potentially solve one of the greatest ­problems facing mankind.

An area of Buckhaven is to become a test-bed for new technology which – if it works – could end the global energy crisis. How? By ­producing limitless, pollution-free power – from nothing more than wind and rain. It may seem a bold promise. But, as locals are quick to point out, there is definitely no shortage of wind and rain...

H100 Fife – funded by the UK energy ­regulator Ofgem, power companies and the Scottish Government – is being run by gas distributor SGN, which is at great pains to stress the abundant research showing the safety of hydrogen for domestic use and also the comprehensive system of safety measures including ventilation, cut-offs and pressure valves. The two-year trial will be used by the UK Government to decide whether green hydrogen could be expanded.

Finally, there is also the promise of hydrogen in the South West