Battery Powered Vehicles (BPVs) may one day replace fossil-fuelled Internal Combustion Engine-vehicles (ICEs), but hydrogen is also emerging as a rival contender – with the Levenmouth Community Energy Project in Fife potentially providing a technological kick-start – in the race to de-carbonise transportation.
While hydrogen refuelling centres have already been installed in London, Swindon and Aberdeen, the Levenmouth project involves developing the largest concentration of hydrogen-powered vehicles (HPVs) in the UK.
The Levenmouth Community Energy Project has been awarded £4 million funding from the Local Energy Challenge Fund to further develop this project.
Based at the Hydrogen Office in Methil and run by Bright Green Hydrogen, the new scheme involves the facility being developed into the world’s foremost demonstrator of innovative applications of hydrogen derived from renewable sources.
This includes Levenmouth becoming the home of Europe’s largest fleet of hydrogen dual-fuel vehicles, comprising 10 Ford Transit vans, 10 Renault Kangoo vans and two refuse-collection vehicles. The only emission that emerge from these vehicles is water vapour.
Hydrogen refuelling pumps are to be installed at both the Hydrogen Office and at the Fife Council vehicle depot in Glenrothes.
This project, which could position Levenmouth at the heart of a clean energy transportation revolution, may also power part of the heating of Leven swimming pool by hydrogen produced at the Hydrogen Office. This would not only bring economic benefits to the area but is widely considered as a valuable demonstration of how hydrogen can decarbonise heating applications in Scotland and help secure future energy supplies for generations to come.
Hydrogen will be stored at the Methil site and reconverted to electricity at times when onsite wind and solar generation is low. This will help offset the intermittency of renewable generation and as a result, improve the business park’s ability to be energy self-sufficient.
Such an approach will also demonstrate how more renewable energy can be connected to the grid nationally by alleviating the network export constraints that are becoming all too common in areas such as Scotland in times of peak renewable generation.
The hydrogen energy management system at site will be implemented by project partner, Toshiba, which will also play an active role in the development of project learning.
“We have been searching the world for a site to engage our technology with innovative green hydrogen applications, and have selected the Levenmouth project as the perfect such location.”
Levenmouth Community Energy Project comprises Bright Green Hydrogen Ltd, along with Fife Council, Toshiba, Leven Valley Development Trust; Fife College; BOC (for hydrogen transport); Green Business Fife; Community Energy Scotland, and the Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (SHFCA).
George Archibald, Chief Executive, Bright Green Hydrogen – the lead partner – welcomed the funding news: “The project team has worked hard to capitalise on its collective expertise and to develop robust designs for this project – against tough competition from the whole of Scotland. We are delighted that this effort has paid off, and we look forward to implementing this project and ensuring its successful completion in the year ahead”.