The University of Sheffield has installed a new hydrogen electrolyser that will enable it to produce, develop and test hydrogen-based sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) and make it the biggest producer of green hydrogen by a research centre in the UK.

The electrolyser is being installed in the University’s Sustainable Aviation Fuels Innovation Centre (SAF-IC), the UK’s first R&D facility capable of developing, testing, validating and helping certify new fuels in one location.

The technology will enable the University to produce nearly 140Nm3 per hour of green hydrogen and store 1450Nm3, which is the equivalent to the electricity required to power 200 homes.

Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, director of the University of Sheffield’s Energy Institute, said, “In order to drive forward a decarbonised future, we must understand more about the possibilities and capabilities of green hydrogen, particularly with regards to sustainable aviation fuels. With this new electrolyser at our SAF-IC facility, we can work with industry and fellow academics to discover and demonstrate the best way to make a hydrogen economy, and a greener future, a reality.”

Sheffield researchers will work with aviation industry partners to develop new hydrogen and CO2-based fuels and will work with other industries across the UK to help them switch fuels and decarbonise.

Sustainable announcements

The IMI VIVO electrolyser is just one initiative by the University of Sheffield to reduce the environmental impact of the aviation industry. In July 2023, the University’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) announced one of the North of England’s biggest ever research projects as part of the UK government’s first investment zone in South Yorkshire. The project will develop new ways to manufacture lightweight aircraft components, another step in reducing the environmental impact of aviation.

The University is also part of a consortium led by Virgin Atlantic that is set to lead the world’s first 100% SAF transatlantic flight, which is scheduled to fly on 28 November 2023 – read more on that story here.

Exclusive interview

Watch an exclusive interview with Luke Ervine, head of sustainability at Virgin Atlantic, on that 100% SAF transatlantic flight here.

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