Hydrogen is a clean source of fuel that can be used to heat our homes, power industry and transport. The Energy Institute at the University of Sheffield has the facilities and expertise to enable the deployment of a UK hydrogen economy.
Why is hydrogen important?
Hydrogen could be used in place of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are needed to power our heavy industries, heat our homes and power our transport but they are responsible for four-fifths of global greenhouse gas emissions. Hydrogen when burned only emits water making it a valuable tool in the UK’s transition to net-zero by 2050.
Hydrogen can be stored, liquified and transported via pipelines, trucks or ships. And it can be used to make fertiliser, fuel vehicles, heat homes, generate electricity or drive heavy industry.
Advancing hydrogen R&D
There has been a bottleneck in hydrogen utilisation research in the UK due to a lack of pilot-scale testing facilities. The specialist hydrogen R&D facilities in the newly-built Translational Energy Research Centre, at The University of Sheffield, can alleviate this bottleneck by enabling the rapid transition of fundamental research into market-ready products.”
Mohamed Pourkashanian, Director of the Energy Institute and Member of the Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge (IDC) Advisory Committee.
Supporting the hydrogen economy
Our hydrogen capabilities
- Pyrolysis and gasification of biomass and agricultural waste for green hydrogen production
- Fuel switching to decarbonise heavy industry
- Hydrogen fuels for sustainable aviation transport
- Blended and pure hydrogen for use domestic heating
- Nuclear SMRs for hydrogen production
- Biomethanisation of CO2 in anaerobic digestion plants
- High performance metal-based hydrogen storage materials
- Hydrogen supply chains
- Health and safety for hydrogen implementation and use
Our networks and knowledge sharing
UK Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre
The University of Sheffield is host to the UK Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre (UKCCSRC). The UKCCSRC is facilitating research into the affordable and sustainable production of green hydrogen and how green hydrogen can be used to decarbonise heating, transport and industrial clusters.
International Flame Research Foundation
The University of Sheffield is also host to the International Flame Research Foundation (IFRF) a worldwide network of combustion and energy specialists. The network connects members to knowledge exchange activities, combustion research information and business opportunities. In particular, the IFRF focuses on hydrogen fuel switching research to support the decarbonisation of industry.
World-class hydrogen facilities
Translational Energy Research Centre
The Translational Energy Research Centre is a new £21 million, national-scale research facility, part-funded by BEIS and the European Regional Development Fund, which enables researchers and industry partners to develop and test hydrogen and other low carbon technologies at pilot scale.
The facility can produce, store and utilise hydrogen through its state-of-the-art equipment and flexible energy management system. In particular, its expertise can support industrial decarbonisation via hydrogen fuel switching research using a state-of-the-art hydrogen-fired 300kW combustion test rig, and research into hydrogen as a sustainable aviation fuel.
The equipment at the Translational Energy Research Centre can be used to enable the design of hydrogen burners, and can assess hydrogen combustion performance and emission using laser diagnostic facilities. It also includes a hydrogen-operated microturbine which supports research into hydrogen heating systems.
AMRC and Nuclear AMRC
Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre
The AMRC specialises in carrying out world-leading research into advanced machining, manufacturing and materials, which is of practical use to industry. This includes researching the manufacturing optimisation and scale up of hydrogen electric propulsion systems. Visit facility website
Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre
Nuclear power can hold the key to an affordable low-carbon hydrogen economy. Fission’s reliable supply of heat and electricity makes it the ideal power source for sustainable hydrogen production. The Nuclear AMRC is a collaboration of academic and industrial partners from across the nuclear supply chain, with the mission of driving innovation and helping UK manufacturers win work at home and worldwide. Visit facility website
Hydrogen research projects
Building the world's first net zero industrial cluster
The University of Sheffield Energy Institute, AMRC and Nuclear AMRC are supporting a major new project to decarbonise the industrial cluster around the Humber and help UK manufacturers win work in emerging low-carbon sectors including hydrogen fuels and carbon capture.
Generating hydrogen and sustainable aviation fuels with Drax
Researchers from the University of Sheffield Energy Institute are set to work with the Drax power station to generate hydrogen and sustainable aviation fuels from biomass gasification and carbon capture as part of a £20m UKRI-funded project.
Removing barriers to low carbon transport
We are removing the barriers to the adoption of low carbon, synthetic fuel to enable the aviation industry to meet climate goals. And for surface transport, we are investigating how different places can be rapidly switched to low carbon transport systems.
Developing catalysts for zero-emission fuel cell technology
Researchers from the University of Sheffield and Kyushu University in Japan are developing catalysts for zero-emissions technology in hydrogen fuel cells, which have potential to be deployed in the automotive and power plant industry.
Decarbonising the glass industry: cleaner fuels, cleaner glass
Glass products feature in every part of our lives, from housing to broadband to food and drink. To make the manufacturing of glass carbon-free, our researchers are working with not-for-profit research and technology organisation Glass Futures.
New £1.26 million study to decarbonise the steel industry
Hydrogen is considered one of the best hopes for reducing the carbon footprint of steel. Scientists at the Universities of Sheffield and Leeds have secured funding to investigate ways the UK steel industry can be decarbonised within 30 years. The team will use new Energy Institute facilities to perform pilot scale experiments.