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Home >Projects >Hydrogen Energy
Energy Research Unit

Projects: Hydrogen Energy

Project List Wind Integration Storage Offshore Hydrogen Sustainability

Project Title: Advanced Spectroscopic Techniques for the Optimisation of Photo-electrochemical Hydrogen Production
Project Description: State-of-the-art laser spectroscopic techniques are being applied to the novel and experimentally challenging objective of characterising, in situ, the mechanisms and rates of photocatalytic water splitting to produce hydrogen. Ultra-fast time resolution and surface-specificity are key features of the techniques, and a successful experimental programme will demonstrate their potential for improving the current limited understanding of reaction rates and mechanisms of electron-hole recombination and water oxidation on the semiconductor electrodes. Such understanding is critical to the further development of photo-electrochemical hydrogen production. The techniques offer a novel approach to an area of growing importance to the future development of a sustainable hydrogen fuel economy.
ERU Contact: Dr Jim Halliday
Duration: October 2007 to March 2009
Partners: ERU, STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory; Hydrogen Solar Ltd
Funding Body: EPSRC grant EP/F027672/1

Project Title: H2NET - the UK Hydrogen Energy Network
Project Description: H2NET Logo, linking to web siteThe Hydrogen Energy Network is a joint collaboration between industry and academia. Its principal aim is to promote research and discussion on issues connected with the development of the hydrogen energy economy within the UK. The formation of the Network has been prompted by current international developments in the technologies underpinning a hydrogen energy economy. .
ERU Contact: Dr Jim Halliday
Duration: Phase I : April 2000 to March 2003
Phase II : August 2003 to July 2005
Phase III : June 2006 - July 2007
Role: Network co-ordinators
Funding Body: DTI [v/00/00072/00/00]

Project Title: Hydrogen's Role in Reducing Greenhouse Gases
Project Description: Electrical power generation and transport constitute two of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. While increasing use of natural gas and a minor contribution from renewable energy have resulted in a reduction of emissions due to energy supply, the transport sector is projected to increase year on year until it becomes the biggest emitter soon after 2020. Since the energy crises of the 1970s, many commentators have suggested that a hydrogen economy based on renewable energy may be the ultimate energy solution. However, the energy path from solar, wind, and other renewable generators, through hydrogen production via electrolysis and widespread storage and distribution, to end-use in cars, aeroplanes, and domestic and business premises is complex and currently very expensive. In order to realise the hydrogen economy, major changes would be required in the energy supply infrastructure, implying the need for a well planned programme of investment. In addition, technological advances are needed to achieve high process efficiencies and compact hydrogen storage vessels. It was therefore timely to consider the stepping stones required to achieve a fully integrated hydrogen economy and the likely economic costs compared to the expected environmental benefits. The final outcome of the project was a comprehensive review of how the hydrogen energy economy might be implemented in the UK and how much it can practically be expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The review included an assessment of major technological changes required and projections of the costs associated with each stage of implementation.
Final Report The Hydrogen Energy Economy : its Long Term Role in Greenhouse Gas Reduction
ERU Contact: Dr Jim Halliday
Duration: Oct 2001 - July 2004
Partners: STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at University of Sussex, Institute for Transport Studies (ITS) at University of Leeds
Funding Body: Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research

Project Title: Fuel Cells: Providing Heat and Power in the Urban Environment
Project Description:

Combined heat and power (CHP) plants use the heat produced during electricity generation to provide local heating. The more efficient use of fuel compared to conventional energy generation leads to reduced carbon dioxide emissions. Fuel cells are an ideal power source for CHP plants in the urban environment, as they convert a fuel’s chemical energy into electricity efficiently, quietly and with minimal pollution. However, fuel cells are currently too expensive to be widely used, so niche applications need to be found to overcome the barriers to the introduction of fuel cell CHP plants.

The project examined technical, environmental and socio-economic issues to accelerate the introduction of fuel cell CHP technology. It reviewed the performance and costs of a selection of current fuel cells, comparing the atmospheric emissions of conventional, CHP and fuel cell CHP power plants, and conducting cost-benefit analyses that include the benefits from avoided emissions, such as climate change mitigation and improved air quality. It also identifed non-technical barriers to the introduction of fuel cell CHP and considered means to overcome them, such as the introduction of green tariffs or encouraging changes in consumer energy demand.

Interviews were undertaken with the key stakeholders involved in the development, implementation and operation of CHP and fuel cell technologies. Computer models were used to evaluate the costs and benefits of fuel cell CHP sites taking into consideration the spatial distribution of demand and supply.

Final Report Fuel Cells: Providing Heat and Light in the Urban Environment
ERU Contact: Dr Jim Halliday  
Duration: Oct 2001 - July 2004
Partners: STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, CSERGE at the University of East Anglia
Funding Body: Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research

Project Title: Hydrogen Generation from Stand-Alone Wind-Powered Electrolysis Systems
Project Description: Driven by the requirement to drastically reduce carbon dioxide emissions in order to mitigate global warming effects, many energy commentators now cite hydrogen as the most likely fuel to replace petrochemicals in the medium to long term. In this project a demonstration wind-powered hydrogen production plant was designed and constructed, and a series of preliminary tests were performed
ERU Contact: Dr Jim Halliday
Duration: Apr 1994 - Dec 1996
Partners: STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, German Aerospace Research Establishment, Leicester University, ENEA
Funding Body: European Commission [JOU2-CT93-0413]

Project List Wind Integration Storage Offshore Hydrogen Sustainability

Energy Research Unit at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Energy Research Unit
Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Science & Technology Facilities Council