A €9 million energy sustainability project, known as GenComm, delivered by NUI Galway and ten European partners has launched the first of its White Papers on Smart Hydrogen.
Hydrogen (H2) can be used as a renewable energy storage medium and an energy carrier. This allows the reduction of wind and solar intermittency and enables the energy to be used elsewhere as and when required. In transport, hydrogen can reduce emissions and improve air quality at the same time. In heating, hydrogen can be used as a low carbon fuel source replacing fossil fuels. Today however, 95% of all hydrogen is produced from fossil resources. GenComm will produce Smart H2, a renewable and low-emission alternative to fossil fuels, with low impact on natural resources throughout its entire life cycle.
Dr Rory Monaghan from the College of Engineering and Informatics and Ryan Institute for Marine, Environmental and Energy Research at NUI Galway, said: “The White Paper aims to inform stakeholders in the energy industry and local communities about the potential for hydrogen to address issues of intermittency, curtailment, profitability and energy security in renewable energy networks. Hydrogen is increasingly viewed as a practical way to store electricity and give it new uses, such as in transportation.”
Denis Naughten TD, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, said: “Communities that are resilient in the face of climate change and the insecurities of international energy supply chains are key priorities of EU and national policies. Enabling communities across Europe to store and use their renewable energy resources in innovative and beneficial ways is the objective of GenComm. I welcome this project and the empowering effect it will have on our communities.”
NUI Galway will play a key role in the GenComm project, managing a work package that will look at the long term effects of the project. The main output of the project is a hydrogen-based energy model. The research team will adapt this model to create an online tool to support Smart H2 investment decisions, allowing communities to plan and implement their own hydrogen-based energy systems.
Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway, said: “I’d like to congratulate all those involved in the GenComm project. The scope of this project and the size of the award are testament to the strength and innovative nature of the project and the high calibre of partner organisations. Together with our partners, NUI Galway is proud to be involved in leading this research which seeks to deliver hydrogen-based solutions that will help address energy sustainability challenges to communities across North-West Europe. Ultimately this project will bring important benefits to society by enabling cleaner and smarter energy sources, which will protect our planet and support a greener environment.”
Paul McCormack, GenComm Programme Manager and Innovation Manager at Belfast Met, added: “The GenComm project will address the energy sustainability challenges of North-West European communities through the implementation of smart hydrogen-based energy matrixes. The use of SMART H2 as an energy carrier can mitigate these challenges by helping match energy demand with renewable energy supply, while enabling flexibility between the mixed uses of renewable energy. The partners in the GenComm project are working to overcome these challenges through the creation of technical and economic models, and an investment decision support tool that can technically and financially optimise the production and commercialisation of SMART H2.”
The GenComm project is funded through the Interreg North West Europe Programme.
For more information on GENCOMM, visit: http://www.nweurope.eu/projects/project-search/gencomm-generating-energy-secure-communities/