A university in Yorkshire is looking to become the biggest producer of green hydrogen in the UK; well, at least among the research centre fraternity.
Sheffield University’s Energy Institute is installing new technology – a hydrogen electrolyser – that produces the gas by splitting water into its component parts (hydrogen and oxygen).
The equipment will be used in research to develop and test new hydrogen-based – and sustainable – aviation fuels (SAFs).
Such fuels are seen as a vital step in reducing global carbon emissions.
The aviation industry is responsible for around 7% of total carbon emissions in the UK alone and this number is growing fast.
However, aviation’s reliance on fossil fuels makes it a challenging sector to decarbonise, and new fuels are subject to strict standards and regulations before they can be approved for use.
Researchers from Sheffield will work with partners in the aviation industry to develop new hydrogen and CO2-based fuels that is claimed will meet these strict standards. They will also work with other industries across the UK to help them switch fuels and decarbonise.
The electrolyser, from IMI Remosa under the new brand IMI VIVO, is being installed in the University’s Sustainable Aviation Fuels Innovation Centre (SAF-IC).
This is the UK’s first R&D facility that is able to develop, test, validate and help certify new fuels all in one location.
According to the university, the facility, along with the new electrolyser, gives the UK much-needed R&D capabilities in SAFs and can play a major role in helping reduce the environmental impact of air travel.
Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, the energy institute’s director, said: “In order to drive forward a decarbonised future, we must understand more about the possibilities and capabilities of green hydrogen, particularly with regards to sustainable aviation fuels.
“With this new electrolyser at our SAF-IC facility, we can work with industry and fellow academics to discover and demonstrate the best way to make a hydrogen economy, and a greener future, a reality.
“We are thrilled to have the capacity to produce the green hydrogen in our site, so that our research and development into SAFs (especially via Power-To-SAF), industrial fuel switching and decarbonisation can continue.
“We’re also pleased to work with IMI VIVO on this project, and we are now having discussions with the team that could lead to future international collaborations and projects.”
With the new electrolyser, the university is capable of producing nearly 140Nm3 per hour of green hydrogen with storage capacity of 1450Nm3: the equivalent to the electricity required to power 200 homes.
Giuseppe Buscemi, president of IMI Critical Engineering Europe, said: “We are proud that the IMI VIVO electrolyser will prove vital to upgrading the University of Sheffield’s research and development capabilities, helping break the aviation industry’s reliance on fossil fuels.
“We expect this technology, both here and in other applications, to play a pivotal role in reducing emissions across multiple sectors as part of our commitment to providing breakthrough engineering for a better world.”
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