UofG researchers support low-carbon liquid fuels research

Published: 18 March 2022

UofG researchers are lending their support to a new project which aims to help enable the future take-up and integration of hydrogen and alternative liquid fuels.

Researchers from the University of Glasgow are lending their support to a new project which aims to help enable the future take-up and integration of hydrogen and alternative liquid fuels, to support the UK’s climate change ambitions and for a strategic roadmap for the country’s hydrogen economy.
Professor David Flynn, of the James Watt School of Engineering, is leading the University’s contribution to a new national consultation on hydrogen integration coordinated by Newcastle University.
The project is one of a pair which have received £615,000 in funding from The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
Senior researchers based at the University of Bath and the Newcastle University will lead multidisciplinary teams tackling the research and systems integration challenges blocking the wider use of hydrogen and alternative liquid fuels in the UK.
Hydrogen and hydrogen-based, low-carbon liquid fuels – such as ammonia – are essential for the UK to reach net-zero greenhouse gases by 2050. 
Both coordinators will work for six months from 1 April 2022 and use this time to build high-impact, multi-disciplinary, multi-site teams, with the aim of building longer-term research alliances.
Newcastle University’s project, led by Professor Sara Walker, will focus on the role of these fuels in the net zero transition by in providing connectivity and flexibility across the energy system.
Bringing expertise in energy systems integration, Professor Walker aims to analyse the landscape, the challenges and the demand for these fuels, to identify viable investment priorities.
The research team aims to deliver a fundamental shift in the critical analysis of the role of hydrogen in the context of the overall energy landscape, by using digital and virtual engagement across stakeholders to bring fresh perspectives on future hydrogen pathways through the creation of robust analytical tools, relationship building, webinars, and focus groups.
Professor Flynn said: “I’m pleased to be lending my support to this project, which has the potential to make a major impact on how the UK makes an inclusive, sustainable and timely transition to net-zero.
“At a time when energy prices are rising steeply and supply chains are constrained, hydrogen offers a viable route to energy security for the UK. We must urgently prioritise a strategic national strategy for hydrogen and alternative fuel integration.
"The University of Glasgow is uniquely positioned to solve complex multidisciplinary challenges, due to the internationally leading experts and breadth and diversity of its academic base.
“Along with our expertise in hydrogen and alternative fuels, we are able to bring expertise from business, economics, the sciences and engineering. Our future energy services will be highly dependent on the orchestration that comes from cyber physical systems, which will allow us to couple distributed and diverse data, information and models, as to better understand this complex and adaptive energy ecosystem.
“I’m looking forward to collaborating with my colleagues at Newcastle and Cardiff University and with a broad base of stakeholders to co-create the inclusive and, sustainable prosperity that hydrogen and alternative fuels can unlock for the UK economy ."
Professor Walker, director of the Newcastle University Centre of Research Excellence in Energy, said: “I am delighted to take this role as lead for the Centre for Systems Integration of Hydrogen and Alternative Liquid Fuels. There are a multitude of potential uses for hydrogen within the energy sector. Newcastle University is undertaking world-leading research on whole energy systems, and our team of researchers is ideally placed to tackle the complex challenge of decarbonisation and the role of hydrogen within that”.
Meanwhile, a team coordinated by Professor Tim Mays at the University of Bath will work with a group of special advisors to engage and partner with policy makers and industry from across the supply chain. They will engage stakeholders and use a “theory of change” process to map the greatest research challenges, as well as potential solutions to these challenges and their impacts.
They will focus in particular on the potential for these fuels to help decarbonise transport, electricity generation and domestic and industrial heating.
Dr Kedar Pandya, EPSRC Director for Cross-Council Programmes said: “There is a growing consensus that these fuels will play a key role in the deep decarbonisation of all sectors of the UK economy – as exemplified by the publication of the Government's 2021 UK Hydrogen Strategy.
“Over the next six months the two hydrogen fuel research coordinators will pull together work from across the country and create a consolidated, focused, multi-stakeholder plan to take us closer towards a time when hydrogen is a key component of the UK's energy mix.”

First published: 18 March 2022

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