Department of Chemical Engineering

UK hydrogen energy programme

It was clear... that the trajectory toward a hydrogen based energy storage and conversion infrastructure is both inevitable and underway. The Showcase was an excellent opportunity to openly discuss the real needs for and challenges of making this happen.

—Professor Matthew Mench, Vice President of the International Association for Hydrogen Energy

Test tube

Challenge

Hydrogen is a carbon-free fuel and an energy store, and has the potential to contribute to energy security and sustainability; however, many technological and socio-economic challenges remain, and historically there has been insufficient dialogue between stakeholders in different parts of the hydrogen energy chain which has prevented a ‘joined up’ response to the challenge.

This project aimed to capture evidence for the need and requirements of a UK Hydrogen Energy Programme to overcome this barrier.

Solution

Through the project, members of seventeen leading UK universities, two national laboratories, fifteen national and multinational companies, five public sector organisations and three professional associations and institutes were consulted.

An International Hydrogen Research Showcase event was organised and run, and was attended by over 100 people spanning research, industry, government and professional associations both nationally and internationally. The Showcase played a key role in informing the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council of the readiness of the research and stakeholder community to take the hydrogen energy agenda forward.

 

Benefits and outcomes

From the consultation process it was established that the fragmentation of hydrogen energy research was a real concern. It was determined that a coordinated programme addressing scientific, engineering, socioeconomic, policy and environmental aspects of hydrogen research is an appropriate and much needed response.

The findings and recommendations of the KTA project were influential in framing a successful bid by our researchers and principal investigators of other major hydrogen energy projects for a £5 million Hydrogen and Fuel Cells SUPERGEN Hub. This Hub will be a focus of public funding for hydrogen energy research for the next five years and will build the groundwork for bridging the gap between laboratory success and final commercial application of hydrogen energy technologies.