Hydrogen project gets bin lorry boost

Two of Fife Council's latest refuse collection vehicles are for Levenmouth Community Energy Project and will be converted to run on diesel and hydrogen which is believed to be a world-first of their kind.
Two of Fife Council's latest refuse collection vehicles are for Levenmouth Community Energy Project and will be converted to run on diesel and hydrogen which is believed to be a world-first of their kind.

An innovative hydrogen project in Levenmouth has marked a major milestone after Fife Council awarded a contract worth around £1.5 million for the supply of nine refuse collection vehicles.

Two of the vehicles are to be converted to run on diesel and hydrogen, believed to be a world-first of their kind, and will become part of the Levenmouth Community Energy Project (LCEP), which aims to position the region as a world leader in clean energy.

This is a sign of real progress especially when you consider that it was only three months ago that the project was kick started thanks to the award of Government funding.

Councillor Pat Callaghan, executive spokesman for environment and transportation, said: “I’m delighted Fife is leading the way in clean energy. These new vehicles will not only reduce our carbon emissions but they’re also much quieter, causing less disturbance.”

George Archibald, chief executive at Bright Green Hydrogen, which is leading LCEP, said: “As part of the partners’ vision for the project, Levenmouth will become home to one of Europe’s largest fleet of hydrogen dual-fuel vehicles (up to 25) and this includes the refuse collection vehicles. Therefore, this is a sign of real progress especially when you consider that it was only three months ago that the project was kick started thanks to the award of Government funding.

“Hydrogen vehicles are the latest form of technology deployed in the effort to decarbonise the use of energy in Scotland with the only emission occurring from these vehicles being water vapour. Hydrogen refuelling has been installed in London, Swindon and Aberdeen but the Levenmouth project involves developing the largest concentration of vehicles in the UK.”

Residents in the wider Fife region will benefit from Council’s contract award to Inverkeithing-based RCV manufacturer, Heil Farid, as the fleet of nine vehicles mean quieter refuse collections and significantly reduces carbon emissions as well as benefitting the air quality for local communities. This is because they are fitted with power take offs and dual-fuel technology that both reduces noise and improves fuel efficiency during driving as well as loading and packing.

The new RCVs will replace older, front line vehicles therefore there will be no increase in Fife Council’s fleet of RCVs. They will operate from 6.00a.m. to 9.00p.m., Monday to Friday.

Among other hydrogen dual-fuel vehicles that will be included in LCEP are 10 Ford Transits and 10 Renault Kangoo vans, while hydrogen refuelling is to be installed at both the Hydrogen Office and at Fife Council’s vehicle depot at Bankhead in Glenrothes.

LCEP is expected to bring significant economic benefits to the area and 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.

Along with Bright Green Hydrogen and Fife Council, the project partners also comprise 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).

The scheme promotes the potential of storing surplus renewable energy as hydrogen for a range of on-demand applications that require reliable, quiet clean energy sources.

For Toshiba, the scheme is the most complex hydrogen project outside of Japan to date it has been involved with and will see the company implement the hydrogen energy management scheme at the site by providing the overarching control system, which will control the operation of the scheme, as well as enhance project learning.

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. In addition, this approach will 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.