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Teesside and Durham Universities embark on £11million project to support hydrogen innovation in the Tees Valley

04 October 2022

 

Teesside University and Durham University are collaborating on a ground-breaking project to accelerate decarbonisation and the use of hydrogen through supporting industrial research and development and capacity building in the Tees Valley.

Net Zero Industry Innovation Centre - artists impression
Net Zero Industry Innovation Centre - artists impression

Researchers from both universities will harness their complementary strengths in the ambitious four-year project, Growing Teesside’s Hydrogen Economy and Catalysing a Just Transition to Net Zero (‘Collaborations in Research’).

The £11m project is led by Teesside University and funded with £4.8m from the Research England Development (RED) Fund, part of UK Research and Innovation, as well as funding from Teesside University, Durham University and industrial partners.

The Tees Valley is responsible for almost 50% of the UK’s production of hydrogen and innovation in this sector is predicted to be a huge driver of economic growth in the region. In 2018, a report by KPMG found that exploiting the opportunities of the hydrogen economy could add up to £7 billion to the Tees Valley economy by 2050 and create up to 1,000 high-value-added jobs.

As the cost of energy and the climate emergency become of increasing concern, it is imperative that the shift to cleaner energy solutions is prioritised. Many barriers to adoption exist and Teesside University is tackling this head on, placing development of a just transition to a net-zero economy at the centre of its new research strategy.

For the past two decades, Teesside University has been at the forefront of the regional effort to establish a hydrogen economy. The forthcoming launch of its £16.4 million Net Zero Industrial Innovation Centre (NZIIC) will further accelerate this rich history of industry engaged research and innovation by providing facilities and expertise for scaling-up collaborative activity between the University and a growing network of industry partners.

Durham University’s contribution is led by the Durham Energy Institute (DEI). The DEI is a hub for multidisciplinary energy research and is at the forefront of the national and international research effort in the production, storage, distribution and utilisation of hydrogen. DEI works on a wide range of government, EU, and industrial funded projects, including leading three Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded networks on hydrogen fuelled transportation; decarbonisation of heating and cooling; and equality, diversity and inclusion in energy research.

Durham Energy Institute is already providing its expertise to the Teesside Industrial Cluster as well as working with a team of academics from Teesside University on two collaborative research projects as part of the Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC), a UK Research and Innovation-funded programme to support decarbonisation in the UK’s industrial heartlands.

This new joint research project will combine the research strengths of Teesside and Durham Universities and bring together a large cohort of industrial and policy research fellows who will work together with industrial partners to identify challenges and develop innovative solutions to overcome them. Examples of challenges include fuel switching to hydrogen for high-grade heating, the use of hydrogen in flexible and resilient power systems, and hydrogen fuelled heavy-duty transportation.

The outcomes from this project are set to make a real impact on the economy of the Tees Valley, as well as driving global change through the increased uptake and adoption of hydrogen as an alternative to fossil fuels.

Professor Nashwan Dawood, Associate Dean (Research & Innovation) and Lead Investigator at Teesside University

Crucially, the project will also investigate policy and regulatory barriers to transition to hydrogen energy, as well as ways in which a just transition to net zero can be achieved to ensure communities benefit from both improvements to employment opportunities and the natural environment.

Alongside this there will be a programme of outreach and engagement at primary and secondary school levels to promote the opportunities available within the hydrogen sector.

Professor Stephen Cummings, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) at Teesside University, said: “As an anchor institution we are proud of our ability to engage with regional partners and drive forward prosperity.

“This ambitious project aligns perfectly with our research strategy by helping to deliver a smooth transition to decarbonisation, ensuring that all members of our society are able to benefit from the move to net zero.”

Professor Colin Bain, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) at Durham University, added: “Durham Energy Institute has an active portfolio of technical and social science research which brings together hydrogen expertise from across the University to drive innovation through the supply chain and tackle social, market and regulatory barriers.

“This project is another good example of the universities of the North-East working together to tackle regional and national challenges and to drive social and economic renewal in the North-East of England.”

Professor Nashwan Dawood, Associate Dean (Research & Innovation) and Lead Investigator at Teesside University, said: “The outcomes from this project are set to make a real impact on the economy of the Tees Valley, as well as driving global change through the increased uptake and adoption of hydrogen as an alternative to fossil fuels.

“We are delighted to win this significant funding from Research England and look forward to working with our counterparts at Durham University to help grow this exciting and innovative sector.”

Professor Tony Roskilly, Chair of Energy Systems and Lead Investigator at Durham University, said: “We are very excited to be working closely with industry and the Tees Valley community to see them benefit from environmental, economic, and social opportunities that a hydrogen economy could deliver.

“This project builds on our existing industrial decarbonisation collaboration with colleagues in Teesside and provides the opportunity to directly stimulate innovation through a cohort of industrial and social research fellows.”


In the News

Universities to lead £11m decarbonisation research
Darlington and Stockton Times, p.62, Print, 14/10/2022
Teesside University and Durham University are collaborating on an £11m project to accelerate decarbonisation across the region.


Durham and Teesside Universities announce £11m hydrogen decarbonisation project
Palatinate, Web, 14/10/2022
The development project, which is worth £11 million and will last four years, is led by Teesside University with the Durham University 's Energy Institute (DEI) providing research expertise.


North East Universities work together to lead £11m net zero plan
Yahoo! News, Web, 08/10/2022
Teesside University and Durham University are collaborating on an £11million project to accelerate decarbonisation across the region.


Teesside and Durham universities unite to look for £7bn boost
Northern Echo, Web, 07/10/2022
Teesside University and Durham University are collaborating on an £11million project to accelerate decarbonisation across the region. 


Universities join for hydrogen project
Yorkshire Post, Web, 06/10/2022
Teesside University and Durham University are collaborating on a project to accelerate decarbonisation and the use of hydrogen. 


Universities' £11m Tees hydrogen project
Tees Business, Web, 06/10/2022
Teesside University and Durham University are collaborating on a ground-breaking project to accelerate decarbonisation and the use of hydrogen through supporting industrial research and development and capacity building in the Tees Valley.


Teesside and Durham Universities embark on £11million project to support hydrogen innovation in the Tees Valley
Business News North East, Web, 05/10/2022
Researchers from both universities will harness their complementary strengths in the ambitious four-year project.