Levenmouth Project

Kiwa Gastec was commissioned by SGN to conduct a feasibility study on taking renewable electricity to power an electrolyser to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, and storing the hydrogen.

Why is the Levenmouth project happening?

Decarbonising the heat sector is a priority to help the UK meet its commitment to Net Zero. Assessing the feasibility for a ‘green’ hydrogen production plant, storage and distribution infrastructure to deliver energy for heating and cooking to some 300-900 homes in Levenmouth is a test case which, should it prove successful, will shape future energy strategy for the UK.

What is the Levenmouth project?

Kiwa Gastec was commissioned by SGN to conduct a feasibility study on taking renewable electricity produced by the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult’s Levenmouth wind turbine, using it to power an electrolyser to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, and storing the hydrogen locally in tanks until it is required for heating and cooking by the 300-900 homes included in the study.

How much energy is required by the homes in the study?

Our first task was to estimate the heat demand of the 300-900 homes, based on a housing survey, typical heat demand data for the house types present and temperature data over the previous 20 years.

How much energy is produced by the wind turbine?

Determining the power output of the wind turbine required detailed analysis of historic energy production data, future operational plans for the turbine’s use, and historic weather data.

Managing the operational requirements of the electrolyser

The intermittency of wind presents a challenge in that electrolysers perform best when they run constantly. Smoothing out the intermittent energy supply by predicting peaks and troughs in production by analysing weather forecasting data and using grid electricity to even out the energy fed to the electrolyser was a key challenge.  A system control strategy and performance model was used to predict the lifetime cost of top-up grid electricity from a range of electrolyser types, which informed the electrolyser selection decision.

Storing hydrogen ready for supplying to homes

Tank storage is relatively expensive for a project of this scale, so a balance was needed between ensuring a sufficient supply and managing the cost of the infrastructure. A cost model was developed for the system to assess the most cost effective combination of production and storage needed to meet the demand.

What is the project outcome expected to be?

The study demonstrated that local production, storage and distribution of ‘green’ hydrogen generated from wind power is feasible. Indeed, the study also concluded that as projects reach a scale and number that justify the development of centralised geological storage, the cost of local storage and distribution will be replaced by revenue from a purchase agreement from the centralised store operator, thereby incentivising the development of hydrogen infrastructure at scale.

The role of Kiwa Gastec

  • Principle Technical Contractor
  • Feasibility study
  • Front End Engineering Design (FEED)
  • Technical consultancy including high level control system design
  • Strategic planning and associated economic modelling
  • Data analysis and system performance modelling