An overview of the key players and support in the UK public sector research and innovation ecosystem for hydrogen.
The UK government has put research, innovation and ‘learning by doing’ at the heart of its approach to developing a thriving UK hydrogen sector – as set out in the 2021 UK Hydrogen Strategy.
Research and innovation (R&I) will be vital to accelerating the growth of the UK hydrogen economy: it can help de-risk current technology while next generation technology is developed, drive efficiencies and cost reductions, address risks, and help answer key outstanding socio-economic and environmental questions relating to hydrogen to ensure a holistic approach.
The UK is already a world leader in trialling how hydrogen can be integrated into current energy systems and testing its many potential applications in projects across the value chain. The UK hydrogen sector development action plan published alongside this document highlights the importance of R&I in developing the hydrogen economy and capturing economic potential for the UK. UK public sector investment in internationally recognised hydrogen R&I projects has already enabled the development of many key hydrogen technologies. This includes projects developed by UK firms such as Bramble Energy, Ceres Power and ITM Power, who have positioned themselves at the forefront of the global shift to hydrogen.
The UK public sector hydrogen R&I ecosystem will also be central to developing the hydrogen technologies necessary to reach net zero. HMG’s
Net Zero Research and Innovation Framework, published in 2021, identifies the main net zero R&I challenges for the UK over the next 5 to 10 years and is a guide to the research and technologies needed to reach net zero by 2050, including hydrogen. The framework emphasises the importance of pursuing a whole system, evidence-based approach to public sector R&I and provides information for businesses and academics working on net zero related research, including hydrogen technologies.
To make this vibrant ecosystem easier to navigate, this brochure signposts the major UK public sector stakeholders that provide support for hydrogen R&I across technology readiness levels (TRLs). It also features case studies throughout, showcasing past successful publicly-
funded R&I projects which have helped to boost the UK hydrogen economy.
This brochure is not exhaustive; there are other organisations working to create a thriving hydrogen R&I ecosystem which are not listed here. This includes public and private sector organisations. While this brochure focusses on public sector investment in hydrogen R&I, private sector investment is key to driving the UK hydrogen R&I landscape and will be central to delivering a thriving hydrogen economy.
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