Delegates from Dolphin N2 were delighted to be invited to the official opening of the state of the art research and innovation centre at the Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS), University of Bath on 28th September ’23.
The site has been developed to support industry with powertrain systems research and development including pure electric, hybrid electric, battery, ICE and hydrogen-based propulsion.
Approximately 250 supporters, partners and collaborators from industry, academia, trade bodies as well as national and regional governments gathered at the prestigious opening ceremony of the state of the art 11,300 sqm IAAPS facility at the Bristol and Bath Science Park, University of Bath.
With £70M funding from the University of Bath, the UK Government’s Research England and the West of England Combined Authority, the research and innovation facility is set to become a pioneering centre in the UK’s drive towards net zero.
Professor Chris Brace, IAAPS Executive Director, said: “IAAPS represents a strategic investment and is testament to the profound importance of research and innovation as we move towards net zero transportation. But IAAPS isn’t just a facility, it is also a commitment to push technological boundaries, to develop cleaner, more efficient and safer vehicles, as well as nurture the next generation of engineers, researchers and innovators who will lead us into the future.” (1)
As part of the IAAPS innovation and development programme, they have received a multi-million pound investment into hydrogen research and testing, including the installation of a their green hydrogen production and storage facility.
Earlier in 2023, IAAPS installed a new polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) electrolyser and 42-ton hydrogen storage tank.
The IMI VIVO electrolyser, which utilises water to split and separate hydrogen atoms, means that the University can move away from their reliance on grey hydrogen for research purposes.
The ability to generate on site green hydrogen has been enabled with the installation of an array of solar panels (Photovoltaics – PV) on the roof of the IAAPS building. These solar panels support the operation of the 400Kw propulsion research facility.
The introduction of a green hydrogen facility can further support IAAPS in their research and development capabilities for the heavy-duty transport, aviation, marine and off-highway sectors. Any excess hydrogen produced by the electrolyser will be used in other areas of the IAAPS facility such as powering boilers, further reducing the sites reliance on natural gas.
This innovative approach by IAAPS gives the UK green hydrogen economy a much needed boost and recognises yet again the import part hydrogen plays in the decarbonisation of the heavy-duty, off-highway, aviation and marine sectors.
As we have mentioned before, the hydrogen economy in the UK is still in it’s infancy and one of the inherent stumbling blocks for an uptake in green hydrogen production is capability, capacity and infrastructure. A safe and reliable source of green hydrogen in the UK could certainly support the transition to net zero not only for our energy networks but also as IAAPS points out, those hard to decarbonise sectors of the transport systems.
In July ’23 Dolphin N2 attended the Hydrogen Industry Leaders (HIL) conference in London. At the event, Catherine Raw – Managing Director, SSE Thermal spoke about how SSE’s renewable energy strategies through offshore wind are developing to meet the ever-growing demand for green hydrogen. With offshore wind and solar supplied by SSE currently capable of producing 16GW of power, SSE are seeking to be able to supply 50GW of offshore wind energy by 2035 with the development of the world’s second largest wind farm.
Therefore, the Humber will soon be home to multiple storage caverns for hydrogen built by SSE, with one of their gas caverns having already been adapted for this purpose and a 35MW electrolyser having already been installed.
SSE are just one of a number of investors into the hydrogen economy and associated infrastructure supporting the transition away from fossil fuels.
The UK hydrogen strategy launched in 2021 originally had a 5GW ambition, which has now been updated to an ambition of 10GW by 2030. The UK Government recognise that hydrogen and carbon capture are one answer to a flexible approach for the decarbonisation of the energy sector and beyond. This recognition of the relevance hydrogen has in the UK drive toward net zero, resonates with the pioneering work establishments such as IAAPS are striving for.
Written by Katy Mason for and on behalf of Dolphin N2.