Decarbonised Gas Alliance – BEIS funding announcements

BEIS has announced new funding for hydrogen and low carbon steel production (

1. £100 million Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund (new funding):

The Fund aims to:
• Deploy low carbon hydrogen production capacity to enable greater use of hydrogen as a decarbonisation option across the energy system;
• Encourage future private sector investment in low carbon hydrogen to support scale up and market development that aligns with the UK’s clean growth objectives.

A consultation will be launched in 2020 on the shape of the Fund, with a view to launching it for project bids in 2021. We understand that it will not be limited to hydrogen production for clean steel, but will have broader hydrogen production application.

2. £250 million Clean Steel Fund (new funding):

The Fund aims to support the sector to:
• Transition to lower carbon iron and steel production through new technologies and processes, placing the sector on a pathway that is consistent with the UK Climate Change Act (net zero);
• Maximise longevity and resilience in the UK steel sector by building on longstanding expertise and skills and harnessing clean growth opportunities.

A call for evidence has been launched, which closes on 21 November, to inform the design of the Clean Steel Fund (

3. £40 million Hydrogen and Fuel Switching Innovation Fund (existing funding):

BEIS has also brought together the existing £20 million Hydrogen Supply programme and the existing £20 million Industrial Fuel Switching competition into a £40 million Hydrogen and Fuel Switching Innovation Fund, and has announced a further suite of 20 project funding awards (13 for hydrogen supply and 7 for industrial fuel switching).



Career profile: Working on next-generation batteries at Johnson Matthey

In our first of a series of monthly career profiles, we caught up with Dr Chris Zalitis, who is a former PhD student of Prof. Anthony Kucernak from the Department of Chemistry at Imperial College London. Chris now works as a Senior Scientist at Johnson Matthey (JM) working in fuel cells and batteries. Chris talks about his PhD, his role at JM, and provides some tips on how to survive a PhD in chemistry.

1. Did you always know you wanted to study chemistry and be a chemist?

Yes, in a way, I have always been curious and interested in science since I was given a weather kit at 9 years old and started doing experiments outdoor.

2. Could you describe very simply what your PhD was about? What did you work on?

The main outcome of my PhD, which I finished back in 2012, was developing a novel ex-situ technique, termed the floating electrode, for measuring fuel cell catalyst activity in idealised high mass transport conditions. In fact, this can be used in any electrocatalytic reaction where either a reagent or product is in the gas form. This was an improvement on the standard system known as rotating disk electrode (RDE) which was limited by low solubility constants and diffusion of gases in aqueous solutions. In this way, our technique helped bridge the gap between fuel cell testing and lab scale testing. I also got to test out our methodology as we worked alongside key industrial companies such as Johnson Matthey and Intelligent Energy through the H2FC Supergen Fuel Cell Programme.

3. What three pieces of advice would you give to someone doing a PhD?

For me, I think the following advice is important:

1.) Do not despair if you do not get good results in the first year. The first year is more about learning and reading the literature.

2.) Start writing early. This is important as you learn more about a topic when you write it down. Also, you notice where the gaps are and can then plan your future experiments accordingly.

3.) Remember, a thesis is a show of your time – don’t worry too much if it’s not ground-breaking research. Try to keep it within the scope.

4. What does your company, Johnson Matthey, work on?

Johnson Matthey is a world leader in sustainable technologies. We are most famous for our catalytic converter technologies in the automotive industry, with one in every third car using one of our catalytic convertors. The company is now making inroads into batteries and fuel cells, to deliver a cleaner and more sustainable solution for the transport sector. We also design and manufacture ingredients for pharmaceuticals, and develop efficient routes to make, use and recycle chemicals and precious materials as part of a sustainable future.

5. Tell us about your role at Johnson Matthey? How did you get into your current job?

I am an electrochemist working in the electrochemical transformation team where we investigate new electrochemical technologies which could be beneficial in our current market sectors. This involves doing some laboratory experiments at the proof of concept stage or examining the literature for possibilities. We also get to collaborate in external projects and work with PhD students around the country. I was working with Johnson Matthey during my PhD and postdoctoral research, so I have experienced this interaction from both sides.

6. How have you applied learning from your PhD into your job at Johnson Matthey?

I am fortunate to work in an area (electrochemistry) which is expanding into other areas and technologies. While doing the PhD and post-doctoral research position at Imperial College, I also learnt lots of valuable soft skills such as demonstrating, supervising and writing grant applications which has helped me a lot in my current job.

7. What are you currently working on?

One of the most exciting projects I am currently working on is an EU project LOTER.CO2M ( looking at electro reduction of carbon dioxide to methanol, methanol being important to JM due to its KATALCO™ catalyst for traditional methanol synthesis routes. However, we are using this as an opportunity to gain insight in the whole CO2 value chain and the role JM can play.

8. What three words would you use to describe your role?

The work is firstly, fundamental as while it is business focussed we go into detail when trying to develop catalysts, it is also challenging (covering a wide area) and ‘educational’ would be my third word, as you do end up learning a lot.

9. What advice would you give to somebody considering a career as a chemist?

It is definitely a good place to be if you are a curious person. It’s important to look at the growth areas – that is where developments are happening and moving faster. I definitely feel electrochemistry is a field like that now, and another area I would say is biotechnology which seems to be expanding and changing rapidly.

Dr Zalitis is speaking at a conference next month at Imperial College – South-East England Electrochemistry Conference on 30th September.

With the support of Arcola Energy ADL introduces hydrogen fuel cell buses to their low carbon fleet

Working with Arcola Energy, Alexander Dennis is adding hydrogen fuel cell buses to the market’s widest range of low and zero emission buses.

Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) offers the market’s widest range of low and zero emission buses and invests in research and development of new technologies to ensure it continues to support bus operators with technologies that will enable them to improve air quality and lower their carbon footprint.

Hydrogen fuel cell technology can offer long range zero emission capability if suitable infrastructure can be put in place with sustainably sourced hydrogen. This could offer particular benefits for high capacity double deck buses.

To explore the potential for this technology, ADL has been working on a hydrogen double deck bus for over two years. It is based on the market-leading Enviro400 and has been developed through extensive collaboration between ADL’s in-house Advanced Engineering teams and expert hydrogen and fuel cell system integrators Arcola Energy.

The hydrogen-powered Enviro400 has an electric driveline with axle-mounted motors. The on-board battery is charged by feeding hydrogen from secure tanks to a fuel cell system where it is converted to electricity. No external battery charging is required and the vehicle’s only emission is water vapour. 

ADL Chief Executive Colin Robertson said: “ADL continues to support bus operators across the UK by collaborating to develop new technologies that help achieve environmental and operational targets. Hydrogen fuel cell technology is part of the mix of solutions and we are delighted to now offer this option to the industry.

Image credit

The image, taken by Andrew Macintosh, shows the prototype hydrogen fuel cell powered ADL Enviro400 during trials. When used, please credit the image to Andrew Macintosh.

About Arcola Energy

Arcola Energy is a systems engineering company and Tier 1 supplier specialised in hydrogen, fuel cells, and batteries.

The company was founded to address the “deployment gap” between ever-evolving clean energy technologies and end-user needs. Through 10 years of working with leading players across government, industry and academia we have built strong relationships and a deep understanding of the technologies, companies, market opportunities and potential pit-falls in this fast-changing industry.

We help our clients to develop the right technology, supply-chain and after-market solutions, avoiding costly mistakes and aiming to delight our respective customers. We have a collaborative approach, building long-term partnerships with and between our clients, suppliers and end-customers.

Being privately owned, we offer a truly independent view of the industry and are able to flex our offerings to suit evolving client needs throughout the product life-cycle. Our independence also allows us to focus on what we believe in – products which make a positive contribution to society, delivered with total commitment to quality, safety and compliance.

Source of news: Alexander Dennis

2018 Asian Games to demonstrate a hydrogen-enabled zero-emission transport future

Ecubes Arcola, working with Imperial College, is demonstrating hydrogen-powered vehicles at the 2018 Asian Games, being held in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia, from 18th August–2nd September 2019.

Supported by Imperial College, Arcola will also be running a week-long education roadshow in Indonesian cities, providing hands-on technology workshops for over 1,000 young people in South Sumatra & Java, plus open-access displays for all visitors to Jakabaring Sports City, home to many of the Asian Games venues.

This programme is part of a wider Ecubes Arcola strategy to delivery hydrogen-powered, clean energy infrastructure across the region via complementary projects across the power generation and supply and transport sectors, based on the technology.

Alongside this activity at the games, a media event took place on 10th August at the Foreign and commonwealth Office in London, promoting clean energy Investments in Indonesia and marking the practical launch of the partnership between Ecubes Arcola and the sponsor of the Asian Games Education programme in the ASEAN region, Serba Dinamik.

The event also showcased the cutting-edge of UK zero-emissions technology with a demonstration of a double decker hydrogen fuel cell electric bus, developed by Arcola Energy using an Alexander Dennis base vehicle, making a journey to Westminster.

The programme’s mission in Indonesia, is to demonstrate the way power infrastructures can be designed to enable clean, affordable energy, and clean air, for everyone. The programme is already starting to provide exciting opportunities for the development of a new, low carbon, circular economy in Indonesia. The programme for the 2018 Asian Games is a precursor to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics where hydrogen-enabled power and transport will be a key part of the infrastructure.

Alstom set to make UK’s first hydrogen fleet in the UK

French train manufacturer Alstom is set to become the first company to bring hydrogen trains to the UK with its plans to convert an existing fleet.

The company said the move was the “first substantive industry response” to calls by the Government for the removal of all diesel rolling stock by 2040.

Alstom will convert a fleet of Class 321 electric trains by fitting hydrogen tanks and fuel cells to power them. The fuel cell on the trains will produce electricity through a combination of hydrogen and oxygen to create water.

The electrical energy is then intermediately stored in batteries and the train is powered by an electrical traction drive. The only exhaust is steam and condensed water.

Alstom will carry out the work at its site in Widnes, Cheshire and will also partner on the project Eversholt Rail.

Further information can be found at:


Shell’s Energy Transition Report & Sky Scenario

Shell has released their third Scenario ‘Sky’ on 26th March 2018, in addition to their two ‘Mountains’ and ‘Oceans’ scenarios. Sky includes some important messages about hydrogen transport and the potential role of cities in delivering this transformation:

  • Success: New energy systems emerge. Onshore and offshore hydrogen electrolysis systems also begin to emerge around the world in Sky. Initially, they make use of the growing off-peak surplus of electricity from renewable sources, but later become fully integrated base-load systems. As a result, after 2040, hydrogen emerges as a material energy carrier, steadily growing to account for 10% of global final energy consumption by the end of century. Asoil and gas use falls over time in Sky, redundant facilities are repurposed for hydrogen gas storage and transport. An immense build-out of electricity networks and hydrogen pipelines ensures secure and affordable electricity and hydrogen supply, which stimulates switching across sectors, particularly in transport and industry.
  • Success: Governments step up the pace. In Sky, governments around the world implement legislative frameworks to drive efficiency and rapidly reduce CO2emissions, both through forcing out older energy technologies and through promoting competition to deploy new technologies as they reach cost effectiveness. For example, at the national and sub-national level, governments speed up the energy transition by adapting power markets to new renewable technologies and putting a meaningful price or constraint on carbon emissions from conventional thermal generation. Legislation in many jurisdictions forces grids towards100% renewable energy by the 2040s.Appliances, commercial and residential buildings, and personal transport are all targeted with aggressive efficiency or emission standards. The creation of low-emission zones by city authorities forces older vehicles off the road.
  • A successful transport revolution. By 2020, the foundation has been created for a revolutionary transformation of the transport system. In Sky, this transformation occurs more rapidly than many expect; as early as 2030, more than half of global car sales are electric, extending to all passenger cars by 2050. Passenger electric vehicles reach cost parity with combustion engine cars by 2025. By 2035, 100% of new car sales are electric in the EU, US, and China, with other countries and regions close behind. One reason is that in some prosperous large cities, workers enjoy the freedom and convenience that the fleets of autonomous electric vehicles provide.  Another reason for the rapid increase of electric vehicles has to do with the exciting new options being offered. For example, in Sky, a standardised chassis design emerges in combination with battery or fuel-cell (FCEV) architecture, being shipped in almost flatpack form to local design companies for bespoke body fabrication using 3D printing techniques.

Further information can be found at:

Sheffield council launches trial to use hydrogen vehicles in road maintenance fleet

A trial to use hydrogen-powered vans to carry out road works in Sheffield has been announced by the city’s council.

The scheme will see Amey, which is delivering Sheffield City Council’s Streets Ahead programme to upgrade pavements, roads, lighting and bridges in the area, use two hydrogen-powered vans to carry out works over the next two years.

Amey is gearing up to run another 15 electric vehicles to replace the current diesel vehicles as part of its commitment to reducing carbon emissions. As part of this initiative the council is taking another major eco-friendly step by trialling two vans that use a hydrogen fuel cell to extend the range of power the battery gives to approximately 200 miles.

The Sheffield scheme – the first in Amey’s UK network – is being launched after a Government agency awarded a grant.

Results will be monitored by both Amey and the Department for Transport to assess the use of hydrogen-powered vehicles in general.

“We will run a trial with two hydrogen vehicles over the next two years,” said Streets Ahead Environment Manager, Tom Cullingford.

“At the moment, there are only 20 to 30 hydrogen vehicles in the country and technology is at a very early stage.” He added.

“But the obvious benefit is that there are zero carbon emissions which will help improve the air quality in and around Sheffield.”

The go-ahead coincides with interest from the Department of Transport in hydrogen-powered trains being introduced on part of the national rail network to replace diesel engines.

The vehicles are Renault Kangoo ZE electric vans, fitted with a hydrogen fuel cell by SymbioFcell a French company, and supplied to Amey via Symbio’s UK partner, Arcola Energy.

Dr Ben Todd, Managing Director of Arcola Energy said “We are delighted to be supplying Streets Ahead with Symbio Fcell hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. We applaud the leadership shown in pioneering these vehicles which combine the low fuel cost and quiet, zero emission operation of a battery electric vehicle, with the all-weather range and fast fill of a hydrogen vehicle.”

Hydrogen for the vehicles will be provided by ITM Power from their hydrogen station based at Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in Sheffield – one of only a handful of hydrogen refueling stations outside of London. The hydrogen uses is produced on site using renewable energy from a wind turbine.


To find out more about the Streets Ahead contract visit:

Source of News: Fuel Cell Works

The Royal Society Policy Briefing: Options for producing low-carbon hydrogen at scale

“Using Hydrogen as an energy carrier has the potential to play a significant role in tackling climate change and poor air quality.”

The Royal Society, through a consultation with the academic community and industry and an analysis of the published evidence, has produced a new policy briefing which looks at the existing and emerging technologies used in the production of hydrogen and explores the barriers and opportunities. This policy briefing considers how hydrogen could be produced at a useful scale to power vehicles, heat homes and supply industrial processes.

Four groups of hydrogen production technologies are examined: i) Thermochemical Routes to Hydrogen, ii) Electrolytic Routes to Hydrogen, iii) Biological Routes to Hydrogen and iv) Solar to Fuels Routes to Hydrogen.

The briefing concludes that steam methane reforming and electrolysis are the most likely technologies to be deployed to produce low-carbon hydrogen at volume in the near to mid-term, providing that the challenges of high levels of carbon capture (for steam methane reforming) and cost reduction and renewable energy sources (for electrolysis) can be overcome.

A summary of the briefing and the paper is available on The Royal Society Page here!

Hyundai reveals world-first driverless fuel cell vehicle

Hyundai has taken its high-tech fuel-cell vehicle called the NEXO and turned it into the world’s first self-driven fuel-cell electric vehicle. The NEXO is a Level 4 autonomous vehicle and a trio of the SUVs have completed a drive that spanned 190 km from Seoul to Pyeongchang completely self-driven.

  • NEXO fuel cell electric vehicle completes South-Korea’s longest level 4 autonomous driving demonstration
  • Hyundai to commercialise level 4 autonomous vehicles in smart cities by 2021
  • Hyundai plans to commercialise fully autonomous driving technology by 2030

This is the first time in the world that level 4 autonomous driving has been achieved with fuel cell electric vehicles.

Hyundai says that before this feat, the autonomous vehicle had been demonstrated only at a limited speed on some sections of domestic roads. During the autonomous drive, the vehicles traveled at 100 km/h to 110 km/h, the fastest speed allowed by law on public roads in the country.

For more information see source: 

The launch of three White Papers comissioned by the H2FC Supergen

The H2FC Supergen launched three White Papers at the London City Hall on 17th March 2017. Watch the entire event here.

In front of an audience of Government, Industry and Academic representatives, authors from leading UK universities presented their findings on The Role of Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in i) Delivering Energy Security for the UK, ii) The Future Energy Systems and iii) Creating Economic Impact for the UK.

Continue reading “The launch of three White Papers comissioned by the H2FC Supergen”