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15 March 2024
Renewable Energy

WWU Continues to Accelerate Innovation in Hydrogen

Wales & West Utilities (WWU) has successfully secured funding for two innovative hydrogen projects.

Together, these address two of the UK’s highest priority energy research needs: how to cost effectively produce more green hydrogen and how to store renewable energy so it can be used when it’s needed.

As the UK makes changes to reach net zero emissions targets, hydrogen is being considered as an alternative fuel source to natural gas. Currently, two of the main barriers to widescale hydrogen adoption are the cost and scalability of production and storage.

WWU’s ALCHEM – or Advanced Low Carbon Hydrogen Energy Management – project seeks to reduce the energy input required for electrolysis and increase its flexibility to ramp up and down to match the profile of renewable generation.

Using waste biomass as a feed stock, through an innovative electrolysis technology, the project aims to deliver a zero-carbon emissions and low-energy consumption system, which will ultimately produce cheaper clean hydrogen for energy consumers.

The Aquifer project aims to widen options for the large-scale geological storage of hydrogen. Hydrogen storage is one of the critical technologies for long duration storage of energy, to meet periods of high demand.

The project will explore whether aquifers can be part of a range of storage options for hydrogen, which would also include salt caverns, above ground storage and network line pack. It aims to overcome technical and economic barriers by reducing the need for cushion gas and developing measures to avoid contamination risk.

Matthew Hindle, Head of Net Zero & Sustainability at Wales & West Utilities, commented:

“Making and storing enough low carbon hydrogen will help develop a sustainable, secure energy system that is fit for the future. We're delighted to be pursuing these projects, alongside our partners, which could make a real difference to customers and the planet.”

Both projects are funded by energy network users and consumers through the Ofgem Strategic Innovation Fund, an Ofgem programme managed in partnership with Innovate UK. The SIF aims to find and fund ambitious, innovative projects with the potential to accelerate the transition to net zero. These projects should help shape the future of the gas and electricity networks and have potential to succeed commercially.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If you smell gas, or suspect the presence of carbon monoxide, call us on 0800 111 999 straight away, and our engineers will be there to help any time of day or night.

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