- Durham leading a national research project to decarbonise transport through hydrogen-fuelled vehicles and technology.
Durham will head up the £1million Network-H2 project working with Government, industry and other universities.
Road, rail, air and marine transport accounts for almost a quarter of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions making it a significant contributor to climate change.
Hydrogen offers a clean and renewable alternative to fossil fuels and can bring significant environmental benefits to transport, society and the wider energy system.
Hydrogen-powered vehicles only produce heat and water.
Hydrogen can also be made from a variety of domestic resources, such as natural gas, nuclear power, and biomass as well as renewable electricity sources like solar and wind energy.
Network-H2 will bring together international experts from the energy, road, rail, air and marine transport sectors to support the decarbonisation of the whole transport network.
Net-zero carbon emissions
It will look at the technological, social, political and economic factors necessary to increase the use of hydrogen as fuel and knowledge exchange between researchers and industry.
Developing sustainable alternatives to the fuels we currently use for the UK’s transport system is crucial if we are going to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in the next 20-30 years.
Professor Tony Roskilly, Professor of Energy Systems in the Department of Engineering, at Durham University, is director of Network-H2.
Professor Roskilly said: “We need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels to cut the harmful emissions that contribute to climate change.
“Developing sustainable alternatives to the fuels we currently use for our transport system is crucial if we are going to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in the next 20 to 30 years.
“Hydrogen provides us with a potentially clean option to decarbonise transport by removing the detrimental effects that using fossil fuels has on the environment and public health.
“Network-H2 will bring together the leading experts in this field so we can begin to establish hydrogen as a fuel of the future.”
Dr. Andrew Smallbone, Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering, at Durham University, is an expert in this field. He said: “Battery electric vehicles are now a serious option for road transport for short range, lightweight vehicles.
“However, analysis shows that the hydrogen option makes ever more sense for larger vehicles and for regular long journeys.
“This makes it a credible option for decarbonising parts of the transport system including the marine and freight sectors.
“Furthermore, a scaled-up hydrogen transportation sector offers huge benefits to managing flexibility in the UK power, heat and wider energy system.”
The EPSRC, part of UK Research and Innovation, has provided a total of £5m in funding to five Decarbonising Transport Networks+.
The Network-H2 team at Durham University is supported by researchers at Newcastle University and the University of Southampton.
Network partners also include the Advanced Propulsion Centre UK Ltd, Consortium on Turbulent Reacting Flows, Department for Transport, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Energy Systems Catapult, Transport Systems Catapult, and the UK Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association.
Energy and Clean Growth Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said: “A modern, advanced transport system is one that connects people to jobs while boosting economic growth and productivity. But with transport representing almost a quarter of Europe’s greenhouse gases, the industry also needs to evolve to become more sustainable.
“Bringing together some of the brightest minds from all corners of the UK, these transport networks will boost the development of technologies that have the potential to clean up our transport systems – so we can cycle, drive and even fly into a greener future.”