Understanding the true potential of low-carbon liquid fuels
18 March 2022
Professor Jianzhong Wu of the School of Engineering is involved in new research projects that will help the future take-up of greener, hydrogen-based fuels in the UK.
Hydrogen and hydrogen-based, low-carbon liquid fuels, such as ammonia, are essential for the UK to reach net-zero greenhouse gases by 2050.
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is to provide £615k over the next six months to fund two hydrogen fuel research coordinators. The research projects involve multidisciplinary teams tackling the research and systems integration challenges to the wider use of hydrogen and alternative liquid fuels in the UK.
Led by Professor Sara Walker of Newcastle University, Professor Jianzhong Wu will explore ways to achieve greater systems integration, focusing on the role of these fuels in the net-zero transition in providing connectivity and flexibility across the energy system.
The team will analyse the landscape, the challenges, and the demand for these fuels, to identify viable investment priorities. The project aims to deliver a fundamental shift in the critical analysis of the role of hydrogen in the context of the overall energy landscape, by using digital and virtual engagement across stakeholders to bring fresh perspectives on future hydrogen pathways.
Using his expertise in integrated multi-energy infrastructure, Professor Wu will lead the development of a UK expertise map, which will inform the participant selection for the engagement activities and the structure of the project consortium.
The research challenges will be tackled by a team led by Professor Tim Mays at the University of Bath. His team will work with a group of special advisors to engage and partner with policymakers and industry from across the supply chain. They will engage stakeholders and use a “theory of change” process to map the greatest research challenges, as well as potential solutions to these challenges and their impacts.
Their work will focus on the potential for these fuels to help decarbonise transport, electricity generation and domestic and industrial heating.
Both coordinators will work for six months from 1 April 2022 with the aim of building longer-term research alliances.
Cardiff University also brings major networks to the project through support from partners involved in the UK Energy Research Centre, FLEXIS, EPSRC Supergen Energy Networks Hub, INCOSE UK Energy Systems Interest Group, the IEEE Technical Committee on Carbon Neutrality, and International UNiLAB on Synergies between Energy Networks.
Dr Kedar Pandya, EPSRC Director for Cross-Council Programmes said:
“There is a growing consensus that these fuels will play a key role in the deep decarbonisation of all sectors of the UK economy – as exemplified by the publication of the Government's 2021 UK Hydrogen Strategy. Over the next six months, the two hydrogen fuel research coordinators will pull together work from across the country and create a consolidated, focused, multi-stakeholder plan to take us closer towards a time when hydrogen is a key component of the UK's energy mix.”
Adapted with thanks from the EPSRC.