Universities in hydrogen future funding boost

Two leading universities have announced they are to receive funding to explore the future uses of hydrogen as a fuel at the heart of a net zero future.

The University of Strathclyde has become one of three higher education institutions in Scotland to receive funding from the Scottish Government-funded Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) Scotland-Germany Hydrogen Research Scheme. The programme aims to facilitate research and practice-based partnerships between the two countries to explore the future use of hydrogen.

The university is to work alongside Technische Universität Braunschweig to develop a digital toolkit for hydrogen production.

University of Strathclyde is a strategic partner of TU Braunschweig. The contact came about through the joint commitment of CESAER, a network of more than 50 leading universities of science and technology in Europe. Since 2019, there has been an intensive exchange, especially in the area of research. In concrete terms, both universities are now working together on the hydrogen project “DiTo-H2 “, funded by the Scotland-Germany Hydrogen Research Scheme.

The aim of this project is to develop a modelling framework that maps technological advances at different levels and quantifies how advances at the material level translate into performance improvements at the electrolyser and energy grid level. The framework will facilitate rapid decision-making on the value of integrating new technologies and materials as they become available.

“In addition to the intensive technical exchange and the exciting work on several scales of hydrogen production, we also see the project that is now starting as a great opportunity to establish a long-term international research partnership with all project participants. An integral part of the project is a workshop in which important players in German and Scottish hydrogen research will network beyond the project consortium and develop future research strategies and subsequently design further joint project proposals around green hydrogen,” said Professor Daniel Schröder, head of the Institute of Energy and Systems Process Engineering at TU Braunschweig.

”’Green hydrogen’ is high on our research agenda. Networking in Europe is only logical in order to work together with our partner, to share knowledge and to arrive more quickly at solutions for one of the most pressing goals, the move away from fossil fuels. That is why I am particularly pleased to be launching a strategic partnership with the University of Strathclyde in Scotland in the near future and to be intensifying our joint activities,” said Professor Angela Ittel, president of TU Braunschweig.

The project is to be led for Strathclyde by Dr Dragos Neagu, a chancellor’s fellow in the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering, alongside colleagues at the University’s Advanced Forming Research Centre, Institute for Energy and Environment and Power Networks Demonstration Centre.

Neagu said: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to carry out our research, which will address key national and international priorities in the diffusion of hydrogen and support early commercialisation and application in communities and industry. I am excited to work with an internationally high-level team that combines knowledge from materials, manufacturing, electrical engineering and electrochemistry. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Scottish Power and the Lower Saxony Ministry of Economic Affairs, Employment, Transport and Digitalisation for their support of the project.”

Strathclyde principal professor Sir Jim McDonald added: “The production and use of hydrogen offer significant opportunities to decarbonise our energy system and meet the needs of communities and industries, while helping to meet global climate change and net zero targets. The COP26 conference, held in our home city of Glasgow, reminded us all of the urgency of these goals and the potential consequences of missing them. Together with our partners at the Technical University of Braunschweig and with the support of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, our research will accelerate the implementation of Scotland’s Hydrogen Action Plan and make further progress towards a net zero future.”

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