Energy and environment

Paving the way to a hydrogen economy

The use of hydrogen as an energy carrier in the UK is beginning to shift from hypothetical debates to practical demonstration projects, but hydrogen has yet to have wide commercial uptake. It can be utilised across the energy supply chain, for example, within the electricity grid, in decarbonising transport and to provide heat for our homes and businesses.

NPL has well-established research activities in metrology for fuel cells, electrolysers and hydrogen purity. NPL is one of the only laboratories in the world that is accredited for hydrogen purity testing and this service is provided to hydrogen refuelling stations in the UK and across Europe. Without this service, hydrogen refuelling stations cannot perform mandatory purity checks as required by national or European regulations, and consumers risk their fuel cells being degraded by impurities in the fuel they are using.

As the UK’s National Measurement Institute, NPL has a responsibility to tackle priority measurement issues and regularly interacts with industry, academia and government to determine what these challenges are.

NPL recently published a report, Energy transition: Measurement needs within the hydrogen industry, which analyses the processes behind the production, storage, distribution and end-uses of hydrogen. It identifies the measurement challenges that have the potential to hinder the growth of a UK hydrogen economy and highlights which challenges UK industry is most eager to see addressed. It was produced in consultation with industry, research organisations and government.

We are also home to London’s first new public access hydrogen refuelling station.

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