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HSE helps pave the highway to hydrogen for UK maritime sector

9th November 2021

Last month HSE was named as part of a winning consortium aiming to develop a national hydrogen highway network that will integrate land, sea and port.

The consortium, led by the Port of London Authority (PLA), has been successful in securing £1.3m of funding as part of the Smart Maritime Land Operations Call, a Maritime Research and Innovation UK (MarRI-UK) initiative supported by the Department for Transport (DfT).

Ports 3

Image published with permission of the Port of London Authority.

HSE, through its Research and Consultancy services, will join the PLA and other partners including OS Energy, University of Strathclyde, University of Kent, ORE Catapult, University of Birmingham and Newcastle Marine Services, in a two year project comprising of six work packages covering aspects such as researching energy diversity, trialling hydrogen power generation for vessels based at the PLA's Denton Wharf, establishing the business case for back hauling hydrogen into central London, optimising ship design and understanding health & safety requirements.

HSE is leading a work package to define a port case study in order to understand the safety and feasibility of a hydrogen infrastructure. The objective will be to identify the hazards that could be introduced as a result of transporting and using hydrogen in a port environment. This will include determining the types of safeguards that will need to be in place, highlighting any knowledge gaps and making recommendations for further development. HSE will also be a source of technical challenge and advice to other work packages regarding safety considerations.

Commenting on the successful bid, Kate Jeffrey from HSE's Centre for Energy said:

'Achieving net zero by 2050 is a massive challenge for all sectors, so we're delighted to be applying our world-class, scientific expertise in hydrogen safety to help the maritime sector proactively anticipate their safety challenges early so that they can work at pace to decarbonise. 

This project allows us to do what we do best - bring industry, academia and other regulators round the table to understand the end-to-end process and ensure that safety is considered throughout the entire lifecycle'.

This announcement comes hot off the heels of another recent successful consortium bid involving HSE, this time supporting work in the aviation sector as part of the Aerospace Technology Institute's FlyZero programme.

HSE Research and Consultancy, which is independent from HSE's regulatory and policy functions and is based with its Science Division, is the ideal safety partner to assist with enabling the hydrogen energy technologies and infrastructure required for net zero.

For over twenty years, it has been carrying out world-leading, cutting-edge research looking into the practicality, risk and safety issues associated with utilising hydrogen as a source of energy. In addition to industry project work, HSE Research and Consultancy is also involved in a range of international representation work with the International Standards Organization, the International Energy Agency, the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy, the European Commission and the International Association for Hydrogen Safety.

To discuss how HSE can be involved in your project, contact Kate Jeffrey: kate.jeffrey@hse.gov.uk.

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