This research area focuses on the generation, storage and utilisation of synthetic chemical energy carriers and synthetic fuels, for example hydrogen.
This research area focuses on the generation, storage and utilisation of synthetic chemical energy carriers and synthetic fuels (for example, hydrogen), including the materials and devices used for their generation and storage, and any socio-economic and environmental issues related to these technologies.
We aim to focus on incorporating low carbon hydrogen and other energy vectors into energy systems, reflecting the Energy theme priority of systems integration and decarbonisation.
Considering the current challenges within the energy sector and the government’s target to reduce emissions to zero by 2050, hydrogen has the potential to play a key role in contributing to broad decarbonisation.
The strategic direction of this research area depends strongly on the direction that government and industry take in terms of policy and national infrastructure. It is important that the community is responsive to the needs of this evolving system, and equally important that voices within fundamental research contribute to the decision-making processes.
What we would like to see
There are particular areas of focus that we would like to see within this research area.
Hydrogen production at scale
We would like to see a particular focus on hydrogen production at scale, incorporating hydrogen into current infrastructures and linking hydrogen to renewables and whole energy systems.
Impact of hydrogen in the gas grid
We would also like to see work carried out to understand the impact of hydrogen’s incorporation into the gas grid. This is its use in gas turbines to its transmission via the grid, both as a pure gas and as an addition to natural gas.
Clean hydrogen technologies
Other areas of focus we would like to see are steps towards the application of clean hydrogen technologies:
- in transport – either through fuel cells or as a direct fuel
- as an industrial feedstock
- as a fuel for heating in the home and in industry.
Socio technical challenges
Another area of focus is strengthened links to the social sciences communities to understand the socio technical challenges with regard to new hydrogen technologies.
We would also like to see the development of alternative vectors to be incorporated into the energy system, for example ammonia.
Chemical energy storage
Hydrogen and other chemical energy stores have typically been excluded from funding opportunities for proposals in Energy Storage, however, future opportunities in that area will also include systems which focus on the chemical means to store energy.
We want to ensure that the UK has a ready supply of trained specialists who understand hydrogen generation, transmission, storage and use, whether as part of the gas grid or in more specific applications.