Hydrogen & Sustainable Transport Economy Accelerator launches at IAAPS

16 October 2023

IAAPS and the University of Bath are leading a new consortium which will foster and accelerate the growth of the hydrogen economy cluster in the West of England and in doing so, support the region’s, and indeed the country’s transition to net zero.

Funded by the West of England Mayoral Combined Authority through a £2.5m investment, the Hydrogen & Sustainable Transport Economy Accelerator (HSTEA) will be based at the IAAPS facility at the Bristol and Bath Science Park in Emersons Green, offering vital research and innovation capabilities into hydrogen propulsion technologies.

The initiative harnesses knowledge and expertise, supported by partner organisations such as SETsquared, and also provides a comprehensive range of finance and scale-up assistance for businesses and institutions looking to grow in this fast-paced, emerging sector.

Business innovation, investment and growth support through the HSTEA is also now available.

Funding from the Mayoral Combined Authority has also supported the creation of an Industrial Research and Innovation Programme and specialist R&I facilities. This is in addition to the establishment of a green hydrogen production facility at IAAPS, backed by the Mayoral Combined Authority and Research England, which is nearing completion - a further key resource for hydrogen research and innovation in the West.

The new infrastructure and capabilities will enable collaboration with wider cross-regional initiatives that support the development of hydrogen technologies as a major driver in the transition to net zero, such as the Western Gateway Hydrogen Ecosystem and Hydrogen South West, as well as forge strategic partnerships with other research, innovation and development organisations in the region.

The West of England is already a centre of advanced technology with pioneering businesses and a highly skilled workforce that could lead the way in the use of hydrogen to decarbonise the economy, particularly in the aerospace sector. The strong connection to major industrial partners and supply chain will support the region’s ambitions to become a national and international centre of excellence for net zero transport.  

The Government’s ‘UK Hydrogen Strategy’ estimates that by 2050, the hydrogen economy could create up to 100,000 jobs and £13bn of GVA, while the British Energy Security Strategy (April 2022) committed to doubling the UK’s ambition to produce low-carbon energy by 2030 and designing, by 2025, new business models for hydrogen transport and storage infrastructure.

HSTEA is poised to significantly advance progress in reducing emissions to achieve the region’s net zero aims while creating the skills and new jobs needed for a wider transition to a green economy.

“The establishment of the HSTEA as well as the installation of our hydrogen research capabilities at IAAPS are crucial steps towards advancing our understanding of this promising alternative energy source. Our state-of-the-art facility allows us to lead the way in developing cutting-edge hydrogen technologies that have the potential to revolutionise the transport sector and become a game changer for industry as a whole.

From green to liquid hydrogen and cryogenic cooling, we are creating unrivalled capabilities in H2 propulsion research. This is a very timely and significant development as the industrial interest in H2 continues to grow, and it allows us to establish new partnerships that will not only position us at the forefront of a rapidly evolving sector but also drive progress towards a sustainable, greener future,” said Professor Chris Brace, Executive Director, IAAPS.

Mayor Dan Norris said: “Hydrogen is clean, it's powerful and there is lots of it. That's why I'm pleased a £2.5 million investment from my Mayoral Combined Authority means these facilities for hydrogen production, storage and research are up and running.

“This is the right direction of travel, facing up to our net-zero future rather than dithering and delaying. On top of everything else my Mayoral Combined Authority is doing, it’ll make sure that we're a hydrogen leader, not just in the UK but around the world."

SETsquared, the enterprise partnership of six leading research universities - Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Southampton, and Surrey - will be the delivery partner for the investment, funding and growth support.

“We’re delighted to come onboard as the delivery partner for this much-needed Accelerator. Supporting companies that are creating new technologies which will help us achieve net zero targets is core to our strategy here at SETsquared.

The support will range from helping companies identify funding streams and academic expertise to support their R&D to business model development and support to raise equity investment. This will be accessible through SETsquared’s Innovation Platform, an online space where companies can access all the latest opportunities for their sector, find collaborators and network with peers,” said Yuchen Gu, Sector Manager, SETsquared.

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16 October 2023