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Rebecca Wayman

Durham University leads on £1m government project into future hydrogen transport

Decarbonising transport emissions through the advancement of hydrogen-fuelled vehicles and technology is the aim of a £1m Durham University research project.

Durham’s researchers will lead national efforts across government, industry and other universities on the Network-H2 initiative funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Road, rail, air and marine transport are said to account for almost a quarter of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, hydrogen could offer clean and renewable alternative to fossil fuels and bring environmental benefits to transport and societies.

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.”

Hydrogen-powered vehicles only produce heat and water, however hydrogen itself can be produced from many domestic resources like natural gas, nuclear power, and biomass. It can also be produced from renewable electricity sources such as solar and wind energy.

The Network-H2 project will bring together professionals from energy, road, rail, air and marine transport sectors to support the decarbonisation of the whole transport network.

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.

The EPSRC, part of UK Research and Innovation, has provided a total of £5m in funding to five Decarbonising Transport Networks+.

The Network-H2 team at Durham University is supported by researchers at Newcastle University and the University of Southampton.

Energy and clean growth minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, added: “A modern, advanced transport system is one that connects people to jobs while boosting economic growth and productivity.

“Bringing together some of the brightest minds from all corners of the UK, these transport networks will boost the development of technologies that have the potential to clean up our transport systems - so we can cycle, drive and even fly into a greener future.”

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