Engineering at the University of Brighton

Photo of Brighton and Hove hydrogen bus

Brighton researchers take key roles in new Hydrogen Sussex initiative

The University of Brighton are part of a new project to put the Brighton area at the forefront of a hydrogen fuel revolution as part of a zero carbon economy.

The involvement ties in with the university’s role as the south-east hub of Clean Growth UK, which brings together academic expertise and businesses to facilitate innovation in environmental sectors. As part of Hydrogen Sussex, the university will work with local authorities, businesses and organisations around Brighton and the wider Sussex region to position hydrogen as a clean mainstream energy source.

Leading the university’s involvement is Dr Marco Picco, Innovation Lead for Clean Growth UK alongside his work at Brighton’s world-renowned Advanced Engineering Centre, and Zoe Osmond Director of Clean Growth UK. Marco and Zoe will facilitate academic and business involvement in Hydrogen Sussex.

This includes:

  • a research project on science informed policy around hydrogen internal combustion engines led by Dr Penny Atkins, Principal Research Fellow in the Advanced Engineering Centre.
  • postgraduate student research in the School of Environment and Technology to map potential demand for hydrogen across the county, plus a postgraduate team in the AEC looking at the feasibility of local hydrogen generation and distribution. This research will be supervised by Dr Simon Walters.

Hydrogen Sussex also draws on expertise from technology consultancy Ricardo, long-time collaborators with University of Brighton on a range of pioneering green engineering projects.

Ricardo are also involved in plans to turn Shoreham Port into a green hydrogen hub based on a new 20-megawatt electrolysis plant. Hoping to be operational by 2024, the plant would generate enough hydrogen in a year to power 300 buses and avoid 42,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

Speaking about Hydrogen Sussex, Zoe Osmond said: “The use of hydrogen is an important part of the move to a net zero economy. Hydrogen can be used to replace petrol/diesel for powering large vehicles. It can also replace gas for heating homes and buildings.

“Hydrogen is produced via an energy intensive process, and this can be fuelled by renewable energy. The main barrier to mass deployment is that the supply chain is varied and complex, meaning you need organisations to collaborate in order to set up the critical mass of supply and demand needed for investment. This is what Hydrogen Sussex has been set up to do.”

Speaking at the Hydrogen Sussex launch event, Cllr Phélim Mac Cafferty, leader of Brighton & Hove City Council and Greater Brighton’s lead for Green Growth, said: “Hydrogen Sussex can help the drive for zero carbon economy and help Greater Brighton be at the forefront of hydrogen revolution. The new group will support this game-changing technology. There’s huge potential to assist our Region’s journey to net zero, drastically improve air quality locally and provide substantial economic benefits to the city region and the wider Sussex region as we recover from the pandemic”.

The Chair of Hydrogen Sussex, Abigail Dombey – also former Environmental Manager (Head of Sustainability) at the University of Brighton – said: “This is a great example of the best minds and organisations in Sussex developing a common solution to a very challenging problem. We are keen to show the world what can be done if we work together.”

Stephanie Thomson • March 11, 2021

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