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Hydrogen Research and Development in Scotland

The University of St Andrews

The University of St Andrews has key expertise in the following areas:

  • Development of new materials for energy storage and conversion technologies, including
    • Fuel cells
    • Electrolysers
  • New materials for efficient hydrogen production
    • Electrolysis
    • Photo-electrocatalysis
  • Electrocatalysis
  • Lithium and sodium ion batteries
  • Supercapacitors
  • Separation of gases and utilisation of waste CO2
  • Electrolysis
  • Green ammonia
  • Sustainable materials
  • Sustainable methods to recover resources

The above are predominantly developed/based within the School of Chemistry. Prof. John Irvine’s research highly focused on developing next generation materials for energy storage and conversion technologies, with a particular strong pedigree in high temperature fuel cells, electrolysers and batteries. His research is highly applied as evidenced by collaborations with many industrial companies, such as Hexis Fuel Cells, Rolls Royce, Ceres Power and others.

The Genesis Centre based at Eden Campus forms part of the University of St Andrews.  It is being developed as a hub for academic- industry interactions within the energy sector.  Part of the remit of the centre is to provide technology support for companies working in the low-carbon sector, including activities such as scale up for batteries, fuel cells and materials research.

The Hydrogen Accelerator, a new programme funded through Transport Scotland, is embedded within the University of St Andrews working in partnership with the University of Strathclyde. The objective of the Hydrogen Accelerator is to facilitate the transition to hydrogen and low emission technologies across Scotland with a particular focus on decarbonising transport. The team engages with both public and private sectors to drive hydrogen deployment and develop the associated supply chains.  As a pan-Scotland facility, the Hydrogen Accelerator has strong academic links across the country and can help access to specialist capabilities within these institutions.


University of Strathclyde

The University of Strathclyde has specialist knowledge in the following areas:

  • Power electronics, drives and machines
  • Power conversion and actuation across all power levels
  • Modelling, simulation, control and prototyping of power converters
  • DC power networks
  • New electricity markets and regulation
  • System flexibility

The Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering with the Power Networks Demonstration Centre (PNDC) specialise in electrical systems relevant to fuel cell power generation, such as power electronics, power conversion and DC power networks. They have expertise in systems integration, control and monitoring of hydrogen powered fuel cells as part of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems, and FC integration into battery powered electric vehicles (in hybrid mode), with the ability to carry out electrical modelling of the steady state and dynamic behaviour of fuel cells. Additionally, there is specialist knowledge in drivetrain testing at the sub-system and system level.

PNDC is playing a key role in accelerating emerging technologies towards commercial deployment in a realistic, controllable environment. This is done through the use of a fully operational HV and LV demonstration network (operated either as a grid connected or as an islanded system), integrated with state-of-the-art communications and monitoring equipment, as well as other bespoke integrated functionality. There is growing capability in hydrogen handling for fuel cell integration, for instance for powertrain testing. The University of Strathclyde is partnering with University of St Andrews on the Hydrogen Accelerator programme.

The University of Strathclyde is also home to the following research centres, which are part of the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) Group:

  • Advanced Forming Research Centre
    • Innovative manufacturing technologies (e.g. additive techniques,…)
  • Light Weight Manufacturing Centre
    • Manufacturing innovation using state-of-the-art lightweight materials


The University of Edinburgh

Specialist expertise in the following areas:

  • Power electronics
    • Generators
    • Grid interfacing and smart grids
    • Renewable energy integration
    • Electric drives
    • Power take-off
  • Energy storage
  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Electrochemistry
  • Fluid dynamics
  • Process modelling and simulation

Much of the above expertise is based in the School of Engineering and within its Institute of Energy Systems. There is further interest in research into the utilisation of marine and other renewable energy, and in particular the storage, chemical conversion and transport of marine energy.
Technical and economic feasibility studies of the electrolysis of (sea)water to produce hydrogen from low-cost, zero-carbon electricity supplies derived offshore and its further conversion onshore to liquid fuel (e.g. methanol) utilising CO2 captured from combustion, as means of circumventing the intermittency of the marine energy. There is a strong pedigree in process modelling, flow sheeting and mass/energy balances for hydrogen production, storage and utilisation.


Heriot Watt University

Heriot Watt University has specialist expertise in distributed energy networks and is actively involved in creating a first-of-its-kind system interlinking local electricity, transport, and heat networks into one controllable, overarching system on the Orkney Islands.

is home to the Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre Institute (IDRIC), which is aiming to be a world-leading, high-impact research and innovation centre, acting as the national focal point and international gateway for UK industrial decarbonisation. As part of the Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge, IDRIC aims to accelerate the cost-effective decarbonisation of industry by developing and deploying low-carbon technologies. It aims to enable the deployment of infrastructure at scale by the mid-2020s. It also aims to boost industry sector jobs, reduce carbon emissions and contribute significantly to the UK Government’s carbon target to reach net zero by 2050.

University of Aberdeen

The University of Aberdeen provides specialist expertise in the following areas

  • Novel materials for high temperature fuel cells
  • Direct carbon and PEM fuel cells
  • Energy science (techno-economic assessments, energy policy and policy instruments)
  • Modelling of renewable energy systems (hydrogen fuel cells and wind)
  • Power electronics, electrical drives and HVDC transmission

The University of Aberdeen’s Centre for Energy Transition brings together a number of multi-disciplinary research groups to tackle the challenge of the transition to net zero. Working in partnership with government, policy makers and industry, the centre produces research across a number of themes including renewable generation, carbon capture and storage, the hydrogen economy, circular economy and energy system governance (among others).


University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow has specialist expertise in the following areas:

  • Materials for energy conversion technologies and storage
  • Fuel cells
  • CO2 and water electrolysis
  • Electrochemistry and electrocatalysis
  • Solid state hydrogen storage for onboard applications

These themes are brought together within the Energy Conversion and Storage umbrella within the School of Chemistry.