A £10M research project, led by the University of Strathclyde, will investigate the potential of harnessing offshore wind and marine renewable energy to produce zero carbon hydrogen and ammonia fuels.
he Ocean-REFuel: Ocean Renewable Energy Fuels project, will explore ways of converting ocean energy into fuels for use in heating, energy storage and difficult to decarbonise transport applications.
Renewable electricity has been a remarkable success over the past 20 years, but new technologies and systems need to be developed to avert the worst consequences of climate change and the Ocean-REFuel project will directly address challenges associated with energy storage, renewable heat and the decarbonisation of transport such as road, marine and aviation.
Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde and President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said:
We are delighted to be awarded the Ocean-REFuel project and to bring together this formidable cross-UK team to lead the way for future hydrogen production from an almost boundless sustainable offshore resource
Renewable Energy technologies like wind are impacted by intermittency and production issues and this project will explore storage solutions, such as hydrogen and ammonia, that can help manage the issue of intermittent supply. Like electricity, hydrogen is an energy carrier and can be produced from a variety of sources including seawater and used as a source of energy or fuel.
The project could also allow the stored energy to be fed back into the grid, and potentially channel renewable energy to difficult-to-decarbonise sectors such as renewable heat and transport, which account for more than 60% of UK energy demand.
The waters around the UK offer abundant prospects for clean energy. Ensuring that we can tap the full potential of our natural resources will be vital in meeting our bold climate change commitments
Minister for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, stated.
The Ocean-REFuel project builds on EPSRC investment of more than £35 million into offshore wind power over the past decade and Dr Lucy Martin, Deputy Director for Cross-Council Programmes at EPSRC, said:
By addressing key research challenges to the wider use of offshore wind energy and integrating it into green hydrogen production, the Ocean-REFuel project will help us to engineer the radical energy transition needed to deliver on our Net Zero commitment and also enhance the sustainability and resilience of the UK energy system