How to make hydrogen a fuel of the future?

A £1m research project will look at how hydrogen can be established as a transport fuel of the future.

The Network-H2 project will bring together internationally leading experts from energy as well as the road, rail, air and marine transport sectors to support the decarbonisation of the whole transport network through hydrogen.

It will look at the technological, social, political and economic factors necessary to increase the use of hydrogen as a fuel while also seeking to maximise knowledge exchange between researchers and industry.

Hydrogen-powered vehicles have no tailpipe emissions and proponents say it offers a clean and renewable alternative to fossil fuels and can bring significant environmental benefits to transport, society and the wider energy system.

The project will be led by academics at Durham University.

Professor Tony Roskilly, professor of energy systems in the Department of Engineering, at Durham University, is director of Network-H2. He said: ‘We need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels to cut the harmful emissions that contribute to climate change.

‘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.’

In May, a new network of northern universities was launched to find innovative ways that cut UK transport emissions.

The DecarboN8 network’s main focus is tackling emissions from cars, vans, buses, heavy goods vehicles and trains, but it is also examining emissions from the manufacture and maintenance of these vehicles.

The project is also exploring how different places could be quickly switched to electromobility for personal travel before 2050, and how different decarbonisation strategies needed for cars and heavy vehicles can interact with each other.