Project to explore how hydrogen could fuel the engines of tomorrow

Keele University has launched a €4m study to find ways that hydrogen could fuel aeroplane engines, gas turbines, boilers and furnaces.

The Pollution Know-how and Abatement project (POLKA) is looking at how hydrogen technologies could replace fossil fuels in combustion engines.

Key to the study will be developing the combustion of hydrogen from renewable energy. Unlike traditional fossil fuel-based combustion engines that release air pollution and CO2 when burnt, hydrogen is a ‘zero-emissions’ fuel that only emits heat and water, providing a much cleaner energy alternative.

The goal of POLKA is to create new insights and advanced simulation tools related to hydrogen-fuelled combustion systems. In particular, the project will develop solutions to the technical challenges which are unique to hydrogen combustion, such as reliability issues when hydrogen is burned at high temperatures.

Professor Maria Heckl, Professor of Engineering Mathematics at Keele, is leading a team of researchers on the project.

She said: ‘I feel privileged to be guiding a large-scale international research effort which aims to eradicate thermoacoustic problems associated with hydrogen combustion. This is hands-on research that will benefit our planet.’

The university is currently trialling other innovative approaches to low-carbon energy at its ‘living laboratory’ on campus.

Key to this is the HyDeploy project, a pioneering hydrogen energy project which aims to reduce UK carbon dioxide emissions through blending hydrogen with natural gas for cooking and heating buildings and homes across the private gas network on Keele University’s campus.

The HyDeploy project is the first UK practical deployment of hydrogen onto a live gas network since the transition from town gas. Successful demonstration of the project has the potential to unlock savings of £8bn to customers and avoid 120 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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