A new study that aims to promote hydrogen safety has won £30k ($37k) pump priming funding, advancing the potential of the gas as a next-generation clean energy source.

Undertaken at the National Subsea Centre (NSC), the research focuses on the development of a new hydrogen gas leak detection sensor to ensure safety around hydrogen, especially during transport and storage. 

Conducted in partnership between Robert Gordon University (RGU) and the Net Zero Technology Centre (NZTC), the research is funded by the Scottish Government through The Royal Society of Edinburgh’s (RSE’s) Scotland-Germany Hydrogen Research Scheme. 

Project lead, Professor James Njuguna, explained why it’s important for hydrogen to be easily detectable. 

“Hydrogen can be a clean and dense source of energy but, when in gaseous state, it can spread quickly through the air with no colour, taste, or smell.” 

“To make expansive use of hydrogen, there is a need to develop a form of highly sensitive hydrogen detection to ensure safety from leaks,” he added. 

As part of the RSE Research Scheme, Njuguna is collaborating with Professor Ha-Duong Ngo from the University of Applied Sciences Berlin. 

RGU also successfully bid for a research project that explored the production of green hydrogen from brewing biomass. 

In addition to advancing the safety of hydrogen, the leak sensor detection research aims to help accelerate Scotland’s net-zero transition objections and Scotland’s Hydrogen Action Plan. 

Released in November 2021, the Plan details Scotland’s efforts to support the country’s development of a hydrogen economy by 2026.