Decarbonisation Of Food Cold Chain Through Integrated Hydrogen Technologies

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Faculty of Engineering


The UK government is committed to reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. In order to meet this commitment, it is essential that heating and cooling is decarbonised as it accounts for over a third of CO2 emissions in the UK. A potential solution would be the establishment of a hydrogen-based energy infrastructure facilitating the replacement of fossil fuels by sustainable energy sources. Central to a future energy system based upon hydrogen would be the deployment of hydrogen fuel cells (HFCs) to convert sustainably derived hydrogen (e.g. from solar and wind) to electricity, as they are highly efficient, economic and scalable. The global market for fuel cells is projected to reach US$14. 6 billion by 2027, and the global demand for hydrogen is now over 70Mt rising by 5 Mt a year. If hydrogen is to be an integral part of the UK's future energy system and assist in decarbonisation of heating and cooling, then technologies are required to facilitate the safe and efficient delivery of hydrogen to end use applications. We propose the development of integrated hydrogen technologies that will simultaneously provide the controlled release of hydrogen to service fuel cell power needs and cold production. Key to this technology is the endothermic decomposition of a metal hydride (MH) store to generate cooling, with the resultant hydrogen supplying a fuel cell. By transitioning to a hydrogen-based net-zero economy, our new technology provides an opportunity to assist in the decarbonisation of the UK food chain (agricultural production, manufacturing, distribution, retail and consumption) which is responsible for 18% of the total UK energy use or 115 MtCO2 emissions.


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