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The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) has announced GBP17m of new research and development into innovative technologies to help meet climate-change targets and to secure the UK’s energy supplies.

The government-funded organisation, created to drive technological innovation in the UK, is to invest nearly GBP9m in nine industry-driven development projects involving fuel cells and hydrogen technologies.

The total value of the research, taking into account contributions from the participating companies, is in the region of GBP17m.

The projects will develop solutions for fuel-cell applications in the stationary, transport and portable power markets.

The technologies to be developed are intended to lower costs while improving the reliability, durability and performance levels of low-, intermediate- and high-temperature fuel-cell systems.

The hydrogen technologies projects will identify how to help the adoption of hydrogen as an energy vector in the UK and develop a sustainable hydrogen supply, in parallel with other major developing low-carbon energy industries such as those in fuel cells, alternative fuels and carbon abatement technologies.

In particular, the projects will look to tackle the challenges related to hydrogen generation, storage and utilisation.

Filomena La Porta, lead technologist at the TSB, said: ‘Fuel cells and hydrogen technologies are priority areas for our investment as new technologies can contribute to tackling the UK and EU [European Union] climate-change targets and security of energy supply challenges, while, at the same time, they can provide significant market opportunities for British companies.

‘We expect the technologies that will be developed to help us make real progress towards market adoption.’ One of the projects, led by Acal Energy, will see the construction and installation of a fuel-cell system using low-cost platinum-free cathode technology.

The three-year project will involve the research, build and testing of the low-cost integrated 1kW remote environmental monitoring system using Acal Energy’s novel platinum-free cathode technology.

The project will deliver a low-cost, practical system in a genuine application with an optimised design, located and field tested in Cheshire.

The other partners in the project are Solvay Interox, JM Fuel Cells, UPS Systems, CPI, Cardiff University and Southampton University.

The TSB will invest GBP974,000 in the project, which will, in total, cost in the region of GBP1.9m.

A second project, led by Intelligent Energy, will see the development of enhanced fuel-cell systems for commercial and passenger vehicle applications.

Partners in the three-year GBP2.8m development project, in which the TSB will invest GBP1.4m, include Ricardo UK, TRW Conekt and Dyson Technology.

Royal Mail Group, DHL and the Tata European Technical Centre will form a technology and user advisory panel.

The development programme, which will start in October, is aimed at enhancing the reliability, durability and performance of Intelligent Energy’s fuel-cell engines, which are already in use in Peugeot-Citroen and fuel-cell taxi vehicles, while also reducing costs.

This is the second major recent investment by the TSB in the development of technology for the energy generation and supply sector.

In July, the board announced that it planned to invest nearly GBP5m in new research and development to find innovative technology solutions to help in maximising the recovery of the UK’s hydrocarbon resources.

The 10 industry-driven projects, which have a total value of more than GBP9m, will focus on technologies that tackle the challenge of maximising the recovery of hydrocarbon reserves from the harsh environment of the UK Continental Shelf, while improving the environmental performance of oil-and-gas operations.

Technology Strategy Board

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