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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/X038823/2
Title: Hydrogen Integration for Accelerated Energy Transitions Hub (HI-ACT)
Principal Investigator: Walker, Professor S
Other Investigators:
Imran, Professor MA Dodds, Professor PE Flynn, Professor D
Henwood, Professor K Rooney, Professor D Wu, Dr D
Choudhary, Professor A Qadrdan, Professor M Lu, Dr Y
Wu, Professor J Mallick, Professor TK Strbac, Professor G
Hawkes, Professor A Crivellaro, Dr C Foley, Professor A
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr A Allahham Dr H Ameli Dr Z Pourmirza
Dr D Pudjianto Dr G Thomas
Project Partners:
Altrad Babcock B9 Energy Ltd British Engines Limited
Build Solar Limited Cadent Gas Ltd Celsa Steel UK
Department for Transport Donegal County Council EI-H2
Electric Aviation Group Energy Technology Partnership ERM ltd
GE (General Electric Company) Horiba UK Ltd HyDEX
IGEM (Inst of Gas Engineers & Managers) International Energy Research Centre Lhyfe UK Ltd
Loganair Limited Mutual Energy Limited National Grid
National University of Ireland Galway North East LEP (Local Enterprise) North of Tyne Combined Authority
Northern Gas Networks Northern Powergrid Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult
Port of Tyne Robert Bosch GmbH Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE)
Scottish Enterprise Scottish Water Shell
Siemens Energy Ltd Simply Blue Energy The Crichton Trust
Toshiba TUV SUD (UK) University of Surrey
Wales & West Utilities
Department: Chemical Engineering
Organisation: University of Birmingham
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 22 January 2024 Ends: 31 May 2028 Value (£): 9,864,316
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Sustainable Energy Networks Sustainable Energy Vectors
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
22 Mar 2023 EPSRC Hydrogen Hubs (Research Challenges and Systems Integration) Interview Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Hydrogen and alternative liquid fuels (HALF) have an essential role in the net-zero transition by providing connectivity and flexibility across the energy system. Despite advancements in the field of hydrogen research both in the physical sciences and engineering, significant barriers remain to the scalable adoption of hydrogen and alternative liquid fuel technologies, and energy services, into the UK's local and national whole system infrastructure. These are technical barriers, organisational barriers, regulatory and societal barriers, and financial barriers.

There are, therefore, significant gaps between current levels of hydrogen production, transportation, storage, conversion, and usage, and the estimated requirement for achieving net-zero by 2050. To address this, our proposed research programme has four interlinked work packages.

WP1 will develop forward-thinking HALF technology roadmaps. We will assess supply chain availability and security. Selected representative HALF use cases will be used to identify and quantify any opportunities, risks and dependencies within a whole systems analysis. We will also develop an overarching roadmap for HALF system integration in order to inform technology advancement, industry and business development, as well as policy making and social interventions.

WP2 will improve HALF characterisation and explore urgent new perspectives on the energy transition, including those related to ensuring resilience and security while also achieving net-zero. We will contrast the energy transition delivered by real incentives/behaviour versus those projected by widely-used optimisation models. The WP provides the whole systems modelling engine of the HI-ACT Hub, with a diverse array of state-of-the-art tools to explore HALF integration.

WP 3 will explore the vital coupling of data and information relating to whole system planning and operational decision support, through the creation of a cyber physical architecture (CPA). This will generate new learning on current and future opportunities and risks, from a data and information perspective, which will lead to a whole system ontology for accelerated integration of hydrogen technologies.

WP 4 considers options for a future energy system with HALF from a number of perspectives. The first is to consider expert views on HALF energy futures, and the public perceptions of those views. The second perspective considers place-based options for social benefit in HALF energy futures. The third perspective is to consider regulatory and policy options which would better enable HALF futures.

Embedded across the research programme is the intent to create robust tools which are investment-oriented in their analysis. A Whole Systems and Energy Systems Integration approach is needed here, in order to better understand the interconnected and interdependent nature of complex energy systems from a technical, social, environmental and economic perspective.

The Hub is led by Prof Sara Walker, Director of the EPSRC National Centre for Energy Systems Integration, supported by a team of 16 academics at a range of career stages. The team have extensive experience of large energy research projects and strong networks of stakeholders across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. They bring to the Hub major hydrogen demonstrators through support from partners involved in InTEGReL in Gateshead, ReFLEX in Orkney, and FLEXIS Demonstration in South Wales for example.

We shall engage to create a vibrant, diverse, and open community that has a deeper understanding of whole systems approaches and the role of hydrogen and alternative liquid fuels within that. We shall do so in a way which embeds Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the approach. We shall do so in a way which is a hybrid of virtual and in-person field work consultation and develop appropriate digital tools for engagement.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.bham.ac.uk