£11million project to support hydrogen innovation in the Tees Valley
Nov 02 2022
Teesside University and Durham University are collaborating on a ground-breaking project to accelerate decarbonisation and the use of hydrogen through supporting industrial research and development and capacity building in the Tees Valley.
Researchers from both universities will harness their complementary strengths in the ambitious four-year project, Growing Teesside’s Hydrogen Economy and Catalysing a Just Transition to Net Zero .
The £11m project is led by Teesside University and funded with £4.8m from the Research England Development (RED) Fund, part of UK Research and Innovation, as well as funding from Teesside University, Durham University and industrial partners.
The Tees Valley is responsible for almost 50% of the UK’s production of hydrogen and innovation in this sector is predicted to be a huge driver of economic growth in the region. In 2018, a report by KPMG found that exploiting the opportunities of the hydrogen economy could add up to £7 billion to the Tees Valley economy by 2050 and create up to 1,000 high-value-added jobs.
As the cost of energy and the climate emergency become of increasing concern, it is imperative that the shift to cleaner energy solutions is prioritised. Many barriers to adoption exist and Teesside University is tackling this head on, placing development of a just transition to a net-zero economy at the centre of its new research strategy.
For the past two decades, Teesside University has been at the forefront of the regional effort to establish a hydrogen economy. The forthcoming launch of its £16.4 million Net Zero Industrial Innovation Centre (NZIIC) will further accelerate this rich history of industry engaged research and innovation by providing facilities and expertise for scaling-up collaborative activity between the University and a growing network of industry partners.
Durham University’s contribution is led by the Durham Energy Institute (DEI). The DEI is a hub for multidisciplinary energy research and is at the forefront of the national and international research effort in the production, storage, distribution and utilisation of hydrogen. DEI works on a wide range of government, EU, and industrial funded projects, including leading three Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded networks on hydrogen fuelled transportation; decarbonisation of heating and cooling; and equality, diversity and inclusion in energy research.
Durham Energy Institute is already providing its expertise to the Teesside Industrial Cluster as well as working with a team of academics from Teesside University on two collaborative research projects as part of the Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC), a UK Research and Innovation-funded programme to support decarbonisation in the UK’s industrial heartlands.
This new joint research project will combine the research strengths of Teesside and Durham Universities and bring together a large cohort of industrial and policy research fellows who will work together with industrial partners to identify challenges and develop innovative solutions to overcome them. Examples of challenges include fuel switching to hydrogen for high-grade heating, the use of hydrogen in flexible and resilient power systems, and hydrogen fuelled heavy-duty transportation.
Crucially, the project will also investigate policy and regulatory barriers to transition to hydrogen energy, as well as ways in which a just transition to net community to see them benefit from environmental, economic, and social opportunities that a hydrogen economy could deliver.
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