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Business & Economy

Durham University to lead £1 million research on hydrogen transport

Durham University will head up a new £1 million research project into the advancement of hydrogen-fuelled vehicles, funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Durham’s researchers will work with the government, industry and other universities on the Network-H2 initiative, which aims to advance the decarbonisation of transport emissions through hydrogen-fuelled vehicles and technology.

The EPSRC, part of UK Research and Innovation, has provided £5 million of funding to five decarbonising transport networks, including the Network-H2 team at Durham University, which is supported by researchers at Newcastle University and the University of Southampton.

The project will bring together internationally renowned experts from energy, road, rail, air and marine sectors in order to find new hydrogen fuel solutions for the entire transport network.

Road, rail, air and marine transport account for almost a quarter of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions, making it a significant contributor to climate change.

But hydrogen-powered vehicles only produce heat and water, and so offer a clean alternative to traditional transport.

Hydrogen can also be generating using renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power.

The Network-H2 project will look at the technological, social, political and economic changes that are needed to increase the uptake of hydrogen fuel and will seek to facilitate a better exchange of knowledge between researchers and the energy and transport industries.

Professor Tony Roskilly, professor of energy systems in the department of engineering at Durham University and director of Network-H2, commented: “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.”

Kwasi Kwarteng, the energy and clean growth minister, added: “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.”