Renewable Hydrogen Production

To realise the potential of hydrogen as a clean energy carrier and fuel, it is essential to investigate production from renewable sources, including biomass and renewable electricity.

The Hydrogen Centre hosts research into a range of renewable hydrogen energy technologies, with an initial emphasis on the linkage between renewably produced electricity and hydrogen (and oxygen) via electrolysis.

There are currently two main renewable electricity feeds to the equipment at  the Hydrogen Centre; (i) a 20kW(p) photovoltaic array installed on the roof of the Hydrogen Centre office building. This consists of a number of Kyocera modules with an average annual output of  16.8MWh and a CO2 saving of over 9.5 tonnes per year against standard grid electricity,(ii) a 1.12kWp PV module at the southern side of the office building. This PV panel is directly connected with a fully autonomous PEM electrolyser especially design to generate hydrogen in locations where there is no access to an electricity grid.

In addition to this PEM electrolyser, the centre has two other electrolysers fed with electricity from the larger PV array and / or mains electricity, (i) a 10Nm3/hr /10bar Hydrogenics alkaline electrolyser, installed by Air Liquide (ii) an ITM HPac40 Electrolyser capable of producing 5kg/day at 15 bar.  This is a high efficiency proton-exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyser that can be configured to meet a range of specifications, for fuel cells and industrial applications.

Hydrogen produced by the electrolysers on site is initially compressed to 175bar which acts as the main energy/fuel store. Further compression to 450bar is available to enable hydrogen vehicle filling at 350bar. Although initially equipped with compressed hydrogen storage, the centre intends to provide the opportunity to trial and develop a number of different (solid state) hydrogen storage materials at the Hydrogen Centre - with an emphasis on scaling up and containerising novel storage materials for testing in preparation for industrial deployment.



The focus of the research at this stage is to investigate and optimise the operation of electrolysers under different renewable inputs. At this stage, this could be constrained by the existing PV supplies, but a power emulation system is being developed to investigate the electrolysers interaction with a multitude of different renewable supply options. This also includes developing effective maximum power point tracking (MPPT) strategy to ensure an optimal generation rate.

The current major research areas are:

  • Electrolyser and renewable energy system (such as solar and wind) modelling and analysis
  • Electrolyser design and optimisation for use with renewable inputs
  • MPPT strategy design for both solar and wind energy system
  • Renewable hydrogen production projects development
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