IAAPS accelerates its hydrogen research and innovation

17 May 2022

A green hydrogen manufacturing capability is to be established at the new IAAPS research & innovation facility at the Bristol and Bath Science Park as a result of a successful £2.5m bid to the UK Research Partnership Innovation Fund (RPIF). The new manufacturing capability will address several key objectives:

1. Decarbonise the energy used on the site by reducing the whole building carbon footprint, therefore transitioning to net zero.

2. Support vital research and innovation into sustainable propulsion technologies and the use of hydrogen as an alternative green energy vector to achieve net zero targets, in particular in the hard to electrify sectors such as aviation, marine, off-highway and heavy-duty transport.

3. Act as a regional and national demonstrator for local green energy generation and use, as well as the catalyst for the adoption of H2 across a wide range of applications.

This is a key strategic step and major expansion for IAAPS.

This green H2 production and storage facility, which is set to be completed in spring 2023, will be the first of its kind in the South West of England and form the basis of a regional H2 and Sustainable Transport Acceleration Hub, working with over 30 cross-sector partners to stimulate green growth in the region and to provide an important link in the national H2 research infrastructure.

By delivering this new hydrogen production and research facility, IAAPS not only directly supports an important outcome of COP 26, the Breakthrough Agenda, and its ambitious goals to dramatically fast-track the deployment of clean technologies in order to meet climate change targets, but also the UK Government’s hydrogen strategy to ensure affordable, low-carbon hydrogen is broadly available by 2030. It positions IAAPS at the forefront of hydrogen research and innovation, leading strategic partnerships and playing a vital role in the adoption of sustainable solutions within the transport and built environment sectors.

Commenting on the significance of this facility, Professor Chris Brace, Academic Director, IAAPS, says:

“IAAPS is already widely recognised as a collaborative hub for research and innovation, and a partner of choice for both private and public sector clients covering the breadth of the transport industry. In working with a diverse range of organisations, including industry leaders, innovators, academics, legislators and SMEs, we are setting the pace in the adoption of net zero technology by a much broader range of stakeholders.

The IAAPS team boasts a strong track record of delivering impactful research with real-world application, and I am confident that the green hydrogen facility is not only an important expansion of our remit and R&I portfolio, but also brings value to the industry as a whole and significantly advances the technologies needed to transition to a net zero society and economy.”

The implementation of the hydrogen facility has been funded by a £2.5m grant by Research England’s UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF) as part of its Net Zero pilot funding scheme, an £18.9m initiative designed to support capital activities which will reduce the carbon emissions of UKRPIF-funded research facilities, making the research processes they deliver more environmentally sustainable. Funded activity will also support the core aims of the wider UKRPIF programme, including enhancing HE facilities to champion world-class research and strengthening partnerships between providers and other organisations active in research.

Research England manages UKRPIF and UKRPIF: Net Zero on behalf of the four funding bodies – Research England, the Scottish Funding Council, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, and the Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland.

David Sweeney, Research England Executive Chair, says:

“The UK Research Partnership Investment Fund has a strong track record in funding state-of-art facilities that support world-leading research and strengthen partnerships between universities and other organisations active in research.

By piloting these innovative approaches to tackling net zero in infrastructure, we hope that this scheme will help us to learn more about what works so that we and the HE sector can factor this into future activity and build upon the already successful UKRPIF model.”

This is mirrored by Professor Duncan Wingham, Executive Chair of NERC and sponsor for Environmental Sustainability and Net Zero in UKRI:

“Our Environmental Sustainability Strategy commits UKRI to supporting the research sector to reduce its negative environmental impacts. This funding will help these leading national centres and facilities develop innovative solutions to reducing energy demand and increasing the use of renewable power in some unique research environments.

“UKRI is proud of its role in helping reduce carbon emissions from delivering cutting-edge research outputs in support of institutional and national net zero targets.”

17 May 2022