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Measurement for our planet
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Measurement for our planet

As COP26 approaches, discover how NPL plays a key role in enabling climate action through the delivery of accurate, reliable data that supports decision making and enables low carbon innovation.

Energy and Environment

Enabling new energy sources

Development and delivery of decarbonised energy

Research to support decarbonisation technology 

NPL participates in a range of research programmes that support the development of decarbonised solutions for replacement of carbon-based fossil fuels. Our research includes investigating: hydrogen and its applications, carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS), renewable energy generation and integration of renewable technologies, and associated infrastructural impacts such as repurposing of existing gas and electricity grids.

Hydrogen

NPL’s research is exploring the measurement needs and challenges associated with the use of hydrogen gas as an alternative energy source. Our research is helping address measurement challenges relating to the generation, production, distribution and consumption of hydrogen. Just a few examples of our work include:

  • material development for fuel cells and electrolysers, to reduce costs and assess critical degradation mechanisms to support lifetime extension and durability
  • standardised measurement techniques for assessment of hydrogen purity across different applications including heat and transport, along with the development and validation of purification technologies
  • assessment of the suitability of existing gas infrastructure and materials for hydrogen transportation
  • validation of techniques for hydrogen storage, which will require measurement of the efficiency and capacity of each mechanism to ensure they are optimised for the storage of hydrogen gas
  • accurate flow rate measurement and validated metering methods to ensure correct billing of the consumer - work we are undertaking alongside partner NMS laboratories including NEL

NPL's Energy transition reports highlight the current measurement challenges in the energy industry. Read more: Measurement needs within the hydrogen industry.

If you would like to learn more about our work developing hydrogen solutions please contact the team.

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Carbon capture, utilisation and storage

The exploitation of carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) opportunities will present a range of measurement needs and challenges, many of which have been outlined in our report published in 2021. NPL’s research can support confidence in CCUS technologies through providing measurement expertise relating to:

  • measuring and comparing the efficiency of different capture techniques and configurations
  • assessing the integrity of containment materials in the presence of high pressure CO2 to avoid corrosion and cracking of pipelines
  • supporting the development of emission measurement technologies including improved understanding of dispersion of emitted CO2
  • establishing purity requirements for CO2 usage in different industries including the supporting gas metrology infrastructure

Read our Energy transition report: Measurement needs for carbon capture usage and storage

If you would like to learn more about our work developing CCUS solutions please contact the team.

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Smart electricity grid and storage

To deliver the UK’s net-zero ambitions we need an intelligent, storage enabled electrical grid which is optimised for renewables including wind and solar sources. The necessary changes, however, increase management complexity. Renewable energy sources can be intermittent and weather dependent, increasing the risk of grid instability, power quality issues, interference and even service interruptions. The effectiveness and efficiency of network infrastructure and equipment will be critical to success, and high density energy batteries for storage will likely have a key role to play.

If you would like to learn more about our work developing smart electricity grid and battery solutions please contact the team.

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There will be ongoing challenges to overcome as we manage demand on the electricity grid and transition away from traditional energy sources. NPL’s research is helping to address the priorities, including:

  • grid optimisation through network analysis
  • development of power quality standards, testing and verification for renewable generation
  • understanding digital demand and grid interference
  • diagnostics, modelling and lifetime prediction, including end-of-life management for optimised reuse, recycling or safe disposal of batteries used for energy storage
  • developing operational battery measurements to improve safety, efficiency and operational lifetime.

Using scientific evidence to support real world action

The UK Government has set ambitious targets for transforming the UK’s energy system, outlined in the 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, the Energy White Paper and the Clean Growth Strategy which provide a robust framework for how the UK can deliver on climate action and meet these targets.

NPL is working to deliver on these strategies. We support world-leading innovation, and our research is helping to drive cost reductions and ensure deployment of low-carbon technologies. NPL’s research is also increasing our understanding of emissions and pollution, and we are working to improve how we measure key climate variables both on the ground and from space. We apply the latest advances in measurement science to make every stage of energy generation, transport and usage more efficient, safe and affordable, and to improve the quality of data available on the state of our climate and natural environment.

Case study

Improving expertise in nuclear data for reduced uncertainty

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Case study

Enabling the injection of biomethane into the gas grid

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Case study

Providing accredited measurements for hydrogen fuel

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Working with NPL

Our researchers are at the forefront of new innovations that promise to deliver new solutions to energy and environmental challenges. We play a vital role in providing the standards and assurance to accelerate new products to market and providing reliable data. Learn more about our research areas and working with our experts.  

If you have a research collaboration where our expertise can help, please contact the team and discuss your challenge.

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Work with us

Our research and measurement solutions support innovation and product development. We work with companies to deliver business advantage and commercial success.
Contact our Customer Services team on +44 20 8943 7070