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Keele leading programme to put the Midlands at the forefront of hydrogen innovation

Keele University is leading a new programme designed to support and foster the creation of a new hydrogen economy in the Midlands.

‘HyDEX’ brings together the university partners in the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA), with multinational businesses, SMEs and other partners, to accelerate innovation in hydrogen, build markets and the supply chain, and support the skills needed for the new hydrogen economy and ecosystem.

The aim of HyDEX is to address the challenge of building a thriving new business, industrial and manufacturing sector in hydrogen, where very little currently exists. The programme will allow businesses to accelerate the development and viability of new hydrogen products and associated intellectual property, while supporting the transition from declining industrial sectors and enabling the training and re-skilling required.

The £4.99 million, three-year programme, funded via the Research England Development (RED) Fund scheme, run by Research England, which is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), will see the ERA university partners making available their £111m worth of hydrogen facilities, large scale demonstration programmes, and research capabilities to regional businesses.

This will be supported by the expertise of leading industrial partners in transport, heating and manufacturing technologies, who are also involved in HyDEX.

The universities involved in the programme are from the Midlands Innovation consortium and include Keele (project lead), Aston, Birmingham, Cranfield, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick, while civic partners such as Midlands Engine, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), local government and local authorities, will also contribute to support the creation of a market for low-carbon hydrogen solutions as part of the net-zero transition.

HyDEX will also facilitate links with growing international markets in countries such as China, Australia and South Korea, in order to build commercial opportunities that reach beyond the Midlands and the UK.

Professor Mark Ormerod, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost of Keele University, and Institutional Lead for Sustainability said: “We are very excited to be launching the HyDEX programme and leading it from Keele University. At Keele we have been leading the way in researching the use of hydrogen in the domestic gas heating system and in smart energy systems. This experience and expertise, when combined with the wealth of knowledge and expertise in the ERA partnership and our collaborators will enable HyDEX to have a really significant impact on the use of hydrogen in the future as part of our transition to a low carbon society.”

Keele has already played a crucial role in demonstrating the potential of hydrogen, with the landmark HyDeploy project which ran on campus during 2020. The project, run in partnership with Cadent, saw hydrogen successfully blended into Keele’s campus gas network to show the potential for hydrogen to significantly reduce the carbon emissions associated with domestic and business heating and cooking.

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