St Andrews in £5m sustainable hydrogen drive

Thursday 30 October 2008

The University of St Andrews will play a major role in a new £5m drive to produce the technology to make clean, cheap and sustainable hydrogen energy.

Professor John Irvine from the School of Chemistry at St Andrews will manage the new UK initiative intended to deliver innovative technologies for the production of low cost hydrogen energy.

Funded under the Research Councils SUPERGEN programme, the Delivery of Sustainable Hydrogen (H-Delivery) consortia has been awarded an initial grant of £5m over four years.

The consortium brings together a world class interdisciplinary research team – spanning the physical sciences, engineering and social sciences – from 13 leading UK universities.

In St Andrews, Professor Irvine’s research group will investigate novel methods to produce hydrogen from renewable and clean electricity, focusing upon decentralised systems in particular.

Hydrogen energy is believed to have a significant role to play in addressing the twin challenges of climate change and energy security. However, existing methods of hydrogen production are not currently cost-competitive with fossil fuels.

Professor Irvine said, “There are two main technological barriers to the introduction of a Hydrogen Economy: efficient storage of hydrogen and low-carbon-footprint production of low cost hydrogen. In this project we seek to deliver new lower cost and improved efficiency methods for the production of sustainable hydrogen.

“Hydrogen is a carbon free energy vector, whose oxidation yields only water. Hydrogen is likely to be an important vector for the future transport industry and transport accounts for around one third of energy usage in the developed world.

“Furthermore hydrogen may be considered as an appropriate vector for storage of excess power produced by intermittent sources such as wind or tidal.  Hydrogen is therefore considered to be a key potential element of the future energy economy.”

The consortium will undertake research into advanced methods for the chemical and electrical generation of sustainable hydrogen.

The conversion of hydrogen and associated by-products into alternative industrial feedstocks and fuels will also be investigated alongside the socio-economic appraisal of novel hydrogen production technologies.

Lastly, the group will assess policy measures to promote the transition to a sustainable, low-Carbon, hydrogen economy.

As well as the thirteen major universities, twelve industrial partners will be initially working on the project, with further participants expected to join the consortia as the work develops.

A further important component of the H-Delivery consortia’s work will be to raise the public profile of hydrogen energy research through Knowledge Transfer and outreach activities.


Professor John Irvine is available for interview on 01334 463817 or [email protected]

For further details on the EPSRC H-delivery grant award see:

The 13 Universities represented in the SUPERGEN H-Delivery consortia are:

University of St Andrews, Strathclyde University, Newcastle University, University of Manchester, Cambridge University, University of Birmingham, University of Warwick, Imperial College, Heriot-Watt University, Cardiff University, Oxford University, Brunel University and Leeds University.

The initial industrial partners are:

Johnson Matthey, The Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association, PURE, Scottish Enterprise, DSTL, The Hydrogen Office, Ravensrodd Consultants, CPI, IChemE, GKSS, Valeswood and Bryte Energy.

Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Fiona Armstrong, Press Officer on 01334 462530 / 462529, Mobile: 07730 415 015 or Email: [email protected]
Ref:  hydrogen drive 301008
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