Hydrogen energy systems receive a boost from TSB and DECC

Posted on 19 Jul 2012 by Tim Brown

Five major government-backed research and development projects will speed-up the adoption of energy systems using hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, bringing them into everyday use.

Funded by the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board (www.innovateuk.org), and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC – www.decc.gov.uk), the projects will demonstrate the use of fuel cell systems and hydrogen technologies in low carbon energy systems and transport.

The two organisations will show how these technologies can be integrated with other energy and transport components, such as renewable energy generation, refuelling infrastructure and vehicles, to develop whole systems and show them working together.

Business Minister Mark Prisk said: “The UK has innovative businesses developing world-leading hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.  By developing a coherent capability and a vibrant industry, we’ll be in a position to capture a share of the global market…These projects will complement the joint government/industry project UK H2 Mobility which is currently evaluating potential roll-out scenarios for hydrogen for transport in the UK.”

The five projects, selected through a competitive process, will be led by Air Products plc, BOC Ltd, ITM Power (Trading), Rutland Management Ltd and SSE plc.  They will involve:

  • The creation of the UK’s first end-to-end, integrated, green hydrogen production, distribution and retailing system, centred around a fully publically accessible, state-of-the-art 700 bar renewable H2 refuelling station network across London (Air Products plc).
  • The delivery of solar energy generated hydrogen for Swindon’s existing public access H2 refuelling station via an electrolyser, and its use in materials handling vehicles and light vans at Honda’s manufacturing plant (BOC Ltd).
  • The integration, on the Isle of Wight, of an electrolyser based refueller with renewable energy, enabling zero carbon hydrogen to be produced for use as a transport fuel for a range of vehicles. (ITM Power).
  • The demonstration of a viable solar-hydrogen energy system, with benefits shared by multiple end users of a business park in Surrey, through the 24/7 provision of green electricity and heat (Rutland Management Ltd).
  • The demonstration of a whole renewable hydrogen system, connecting a 1MWe electrolyser to the grid, in conjunction with an Aberdeenshire wind farm, to explore the grid impacts and energy storage potential of hydrogen generation, and to provide the green hydrogen produced to power a fleet of fuel cell buses (SSE plc).

“These innovative, large-scale demonstrators will show how fuel cells and hydrogen technologies can be adapted, developed and integrated to provide real-time, real-world low carbon solutions,” said Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board.

“They also show how the Technology Strategy Board can help UK businesses to accelerate the development and commercialisation of technological innovation.”

The Technology Strategy Board and DECC will provide grant funding of £9 million and the total value of the projects, including contributions from the industrial partners, is in excess of £19 million.  These projects build on previous Government support for fuel cells and hydrogen systems, accelerating the process toward commercialisation.