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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

Hydrogen

Development and deployment of hydrogen technologies to facilitate net zero

Hydrogen for decarbonised heat and transport   

Hydrogen is an energy vector that may ‘provide a clean source of fuel and heat for our homes, transport and industry’, as stated in the UK Government’s ‘10-Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution’. The Climate Change Committee have estimated that by 2050 approximately 60% of demand for heat across all sectors could be delivered using hydrogen.

Hydrogen can be easily stored and transported and when used as a fuel, either in a flame or a fuel cell, it produces only energy and water. This makes it a low carbon alternative to natural gas, petrol and diesel. Hydrogen can be produced from excess renewable energy using electrolysis or from natural gas with the carbon dioxide captured and stored. Hydrogen is complementary to electricity and batteries because it can be stored in a variety of ways, either in huge underground caverns to meet season-to-season energy demand fluctuations in the gas grid, or in very light tanks to fuel ships and trucks.

Supporting industry and addressing the challenges of a hydrogen economy

Hydrogen has the potential to address the gap in our future energy needs that electrification alone will struggle to fulfil. With production options such as reforming or electrolysis and use options such as fuel cells or combustion, hydrogen also offers the flexibility to play an important role in a whole systems approach to net zero. NPL is committed to supporting UK industry in addressing the challenges of a hydrogen economy and developing the capabilities, methods and standards to accelerate progress and make it a reality.

Richard Barker - Head of Energy and Environment

Metrology expertise to support innovation for energy transition

There are a number of technical and measurement challenges that arise from the production, distribution, storage and end uses of hydrogen. The necessary instruments, protocols, technologies and standards to ensure efficacy and safety need to be developed. Some examples of areas where measurement can play a key role in supporting the successful deployment of hydrogen include:

  1. Developing standard test methods to assess the performance and durability of fuel cells and electrolysers, including materials development and quality control
  2. Accurately investigating and understanding the warming potential of hydrogen should large quantities leak from storage or distribution networks
  3. Performing flow measurement, pressure measurement and gas quality measurements to identify and quantify contaminants throughout the system
  4. Assessing the susceptibility to hydrogen embrittlement of repurposed gas network pipeline materials.

Working with NPL

We play a vital role in providing the research capabilities, standards and quality assurance tools that are helping to address measurement needs and challenges relating to the production, distribution, storage and end uses of hydrogen.

Hydrogen roadmap

Contact us

If you have a project where our expertise can help, please contact the team to discuss your needs or learn more via these links:

Electrochemistry

Quality tools for hydrogen purity analysis

Emissions and atmospheric metrology

Temperature and humidity

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