Current funded projects within Hydrogen Safety Engineering and Research

Find out more about current HySAFER projects.


Projects currently being researched within HySAFER.

  • EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Fuel Cells and their Fuels: Clean Power for the 21st Century

    Funder: EPSRC
    Duration: 01 April 2014 – 31 March 2019
    Staff Involved: Prof Vladimir Molkov, Dr Dmitriy Makarov, Dr Volodymyr Shentsov

    The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in for Fuel Cells and their Fuels builds on the success of the 'Hydrogen, Fuels Cells and Their Applications' centre, which was established in 2009 in collaboration with the Midlands Energy Consortium (MEC.) Drawing upon the expertise and research facilities at the University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham, Imperial College London and University College London, the CDT is a flagship collaboration researching in a breadth of fuel cell related fields. By exploring global energy problems, this project aims to train a new generation of scientists and engineers to address interdisciplinary challenges involved in the transition to a sustainable energy future. To achieve this, the project investigates the wide range of fuels used in fuel cells today. This includes the direct use of natural gas, ethanol, gasification syn-gas and other biomass products in addition to hydrogen. Ulster is sub-contracted to teach during 5 years a two-week block release module "Principles of Hydrogen Safety" for about 20 PhD students located at the University of Birming

  • EPSRC SUPERGEN Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Hub 

    Funder: EPSRC
    Duration: 01 May 2012 – 31 January 2020
    Staff Involved: Prof Vladimir Molkov, Dr Dmitriy Makarov, Dr Volodymyr Shentsov

    The H2FC sector is developing at a rapid pace around the world. In USA, Germany, S. Korea, and Japan, where the government has provided incentives or entered public-private partnerships, the uptake of FC technologies has been far greater than in the UK and is expected to grow, generating billions of dollars every year. In Asia, manufacturers will produce around 3,000 fuel cell cars in 2016 and around 50,000 fuel cell combined heat and power devices. Toyota alone expects to build 30,000 FC cars in 2020. Some hydrogen buses in London's fleet have operated for nearly 20,000 hours since 2011 and the city of Aberdeen runs Europe's largest hydrogen bus fleet, while individual stationary fuel cells have generated power for over 80,000 operating hours. The recently issued H2FC UK roadmap has identified key opportunities for the UK and areas in which H2FC technologies can have benefits.

    The H2FC SUPERGEN Hub seeks to address several key issues facing the hydrogen and fuel cells sector, specifically: (i) to evaluate and demonstrate the role of hydrogen and fuel cell research in the UK energy landscape, and to link this to the wider landscape internationally, (ii) to identify, study and exploit the impact of hydrogen and fuel cells in low carbon energy systems, and (iii) to create a cohort of academics and industrialists who are appraised of each other's work and can confidently network together to solve research problems which are beyond their competencies.
    Such systems will include the use of H2FC technologies to manage intermittency with increased penetration of renewables, supporting the development of secure and affordable energy supplies for the future. Both low carbon transport (cars, buses, boats/ferries) and low carbon heating/power systems employing hydrogen and/or fuel cells have the potential to be important technologies in our future energy system, benefiting from their intrinsic high efficiency and their ability to use a wide range of low to zero carbon fuel stocks.

  • Integrated safety strategies for onboard Hydrogen Storage Systems

    Funder: EPSRC
    Duration: October 2013 - October 2018
    Staff Involved: Dr Dmitriy Makarov, Prof Vladimir Molkov, Dr Volodymyr Shentsov, Dr Sergii Kashkarov

    This 4 years project is focused at the main unresolved technological safety issues for hydrogen-powered vehicles, i.e. the fire resistance of onboard hydrogen storage. There are about 15,500 accidental car fires in Great Britain annually (Fire statistics. Great Britain, 2010-2011). The most widespread for car use Type 4 tanks are made of carbon-fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) and can stand in fire up to 6.5 minutes before catastrophic failure. To "prevent" catastrophic failure of a tank in a fire it is equipped by temperature-activated pressure relief device (TPRD) with a currently typical orifice diameter of about 5 mm. A release from 70 MPa storage tank from such TPRD produces a flame of up to 15 m long and separation distance to "no harm" criteria of 70 C of about 50 m. Moreover, due to the pressure peaking phenomenon, a typical garage will be destroyed by such a release (about 300-400 g/s) in 1-2 seconds. Use of such onboard storage excludes evacuation of people from the car or safeguarding of people from the car by first responders. To reduce the mass flow rate through TPRD and reduce flame jet length would require an increased level of fire resistance of Type 4 tanks from today's 1-7 minutes to about or more than 30 minutes.
    The project aims to develop novel safety strategies and engineering solutions for onboard storage of hydrogen.

    This aim will be achieved through the realisation of the following objectives:

    • Hazard identification study and risk assessment
    • Critical analysis of current safety strategies and engineering solutions
    • Numerical study of potential fire attacks from adjacent vehicles on-road or in car parks
    • Numerical study of conjugate heat transfer from the fire to storage tanks of different design and extent of fire protection by CFD technique, including IP of the University of Ulster
    • Finite element analysis to simulate the response of tanks of a different design to external fire
    • Experimental study of prototype designs to increase the fire resistance of onboard storage
    • Numerical simulations to evaluate the reduction in mass flow rate achievable with the proposed increase of cylinder fire resistance
    • Novel storage and safety solutions, including materials for a liner
    • Development of engineering criteria of tank failure to formulate requirements for testing protocol
    • Effect of safety strategies and novel engineering solutions on socio-economic aspects of the hydrogen economy.

    This project will provide novel safety strategies and tested engineering solutions to increase fire resistance to the level that jet flame length will be reduced to allow self-evacuation and rescue operations on a car in case of fire. Potential beneficiaries are not only growing number of hydrogen-fuelled vehicle owners, members of their families, bus drivers and passengers, yet wider public. Indeed, inherently safer fuel cell vehicles would perform in a fire with the same or reduced consequences compared to fossil fuel cars. The project staff will work in collaboration with project partners to ensure and maximise impact across potential beneficiaries: industry, regulators and public safety officials, academia, and public.

  • NET-Tools: Novel education and training tools based on digital applications related to hydrogen and fuel cell technology

    Funder: CEC-H2020-JTI-FCH
    Duration: 01 March 2017 - 29 February 2020
    Staff Involved: Prof Vladimir Molkov, Dr Dmitriy Makarov

    Education and training for the fuel cell and hydrogen (FCH) technology sector are critical for the current and future workforce as well as for the further implementation of a promising technology within Europa. The project NET-Tools will develop an e-infrastructure and provide digital tools and information service for educational issues and training within FCH technologies based on most recent IT tools.

    NET-Tools will constitute a technology platform, leveraging robust and effective open-source/free learning management systems while offering a unique blend of novel digital tools encompassing the spheres of information, education and research. With its two main pillars e-Education, e-Laboratory, the project addresses various target groups and levels of education - from higher schools and universities (undergraduate and graduate students) to professionals and engineers from industry, offering both e-learning modules and on-line experimental techniques.

    The main goal is to develop new e-education methods and concepts, ICT-based services and tools for data- and computer-intensive research to enhance the knowledge, productivity and competitiveness of those interested or already directly involved in the massive implementation of H2 and FCH technologies in Europe. NET-Tools will be delivered combining the expertise of major experts and practitioners on the FCH sector under the guidance of leading companies gathered in a board while interacting with similar activities in the USA, Asia and South Africa. It can pave the road to more efficient digital science combining the latest technical achievements and internet culture of openness and creativity while pursuing the ambition to become the hydrogen counterpart of Coursera. The development of business concepts will guide NET-Tools as an e-infrastructure useable for FCH-Community into the future.

  • TeacHy: Teaching Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Science and Engineering Across Europe within Horizon 2020

    Funder: H2020-JTI-FCH
    Duration: 01 November 2017 – 31 October 2020
    Staff Involved: Prof Vladimir Molkov, Dr Dmitriy Makarov, Dr Volodymyr Shentsov

    As the fuel cell and hydrogen technologies (FCHT) industry gradually emerges into the markets, the need for trained staff becomes more pressing. TeacHy specifically addresses the supply of undergraduate and graduate education in FCHT across Europe.

    TeacHy leads in building a repository of university grade educational material, and design and run an MSc course in FCHT, accessible to students from all parts of Europe. To achieve this, the project has assembled a core group of highly experienced institutions working with a network of associate partners. TeacHy offers these partners access to its educational material and the use of the MSc course modules available on the TeacHy site. Any university being able to offer 20% of the course content locally, can draw on the other 80% to be supplied by the project. This will allow any institution to participate in this European initiative with a minimised local investment.

    Continuous Professional Development (CPD) is integrated into project activities. We expect a considerable leverage effect which will specifically enable countries with a notable lack of expertise to quickly be able to form a national body of experts.

    TeacHy will offer educational material for the general public (e.g. MOOC’s), build a business model to continue operations post-project, and as such act as a single-stop shop and representative for all matters of European university and vocational training in FCHT. The project partnership covers the prevalent languages and educational systems in Europe. The associated network has over 20 partners, including two IPHE countries, and a strong link to IPHE activities in education.

  • Pre-normative Research for Safe Use of Liquid Hydrogen

    Funder: H2020-JTI-FCH
    Duration: 01 January 2018 – 31 December 2020
    Staff Involved:Prof Vladimir Molkov, Dr Dmitriy Makarov, Dr Donatella Cirrone

    The PRESLHY project addresses the knowledge gaps and open issues associated with Liquid Hydrogen (LH2) behaviour in accidental conditions. LH2 provides larger density and efficiency gains over gaseous transport and storage, making it an attractive option for scaling up the hydrogen supply infrastructure. LH2 applications encompass a wide range of technologies, from railway systems, ships or aircraft, to storage in refuelling stations. The hazards and risks associated with LH2 are different from the better understood compressed gaseous hydrogen. Moreover, specific and extensive standards and regulations are needed for use in the public domain. The PRESLHY project addresses the pre-normative research for inherently safer use of cryogenic and liquid hydrogen as an energy carrier.

    The research is built on extensive experimental, theoretical and numerical studies addressing LH2 relevant phenomena: release and mixing, ignition and combustion. The produced outcomes aim at the enhancement of the state-of-the-art, the development and validation of predictive models and engineering tools for the characterization of LH2 hazards, and the design of efficient prevention and mitigation concepts.

    The ultimate mission is to improve the techniques for determining hazard zones for LH2 technologies where they are currently inconsistent or over-conservative, realise a cost-efficient and inherently safer design for LH2 infrastructure, and support the international Standard Developing Organisations in the development or update of standards and regulations.

  • HYLANTIC: Atlantic network for renewable generation and supply of hydrogen to promote high energy efficiency 

    Funder: European Regional Development Fund in the framework of the Interreg Atlantic Programme
    Duration:  01 October 2017 – 30 September 2020
    Staff Involved: Prof Vladimir Molkov, Dr Dmitriy Makarov, Dr Sergii Kashkarov, Dr Volodymyr Shentsov

    The HYLANTIC project addresses global energy issues and focuses on the challenge of ensuring a sustainable and efficient energy supply with low carbon emissions. This project aims to establish an excellent transnational network to advance the R&D, implementation and commercialisation of hydrogen as an energy vector for future power generation in the Atlantic Area, thus providing energy-efficient solutions to strategic sectors in the Atlantic region such as transport, marine, ultra-low energy building supply, and/or portable and stationary devices. Through collaborative research and synergies within the team, HYLANTIC will address research and innovation for smart and sustainable growth covering sectoral and regional needs.

    The project scope includes R&D of new materials and innovative technologies, combined with advanced simulation and optimisation techniques for hydrogen generation through renewable energy and local waste streams, thus delivering environmentally friendly outputs to provide energy-efficient solutions to strategic sectors in the Atlantic region and benefit regional industries, generating positive socio-economic impact.

    In HYLANTIC project HySAFER will coordinate WP5 “Innovative and safe hydrogen storage systems”, organise International School “Progress in Hydrogen Safety”, develop and test a prototype of explosion-free in a fire tank,  and contribute to safety aspects throughout the project.

  • HyTunnel-CS: Pre-normative research for the safety of hydrogen driven vehicles and transport through tunnels and similar confined spaces

    Funder: H2020-JTI-FCH (Project ID 826193)
    Duration: 1 March 2019 – 28 February 2022
    Staff Involved: Prof Vladimir Molkov, Dr Dmitriy Makarov, Dr Donatella Cirrone, Dr Sergii Kashkarov, Dr Volodymyr Shentsov

    HyTunnel-CS is a pre-normative research project aiming to improve safety and risk in the use of hydrogen and fuel cell cars as well as hydrogen delivery transport in underground transportation systems - tunnels and similar confined spaces. The main ambition is to facilitate hydrogen vehicles entering underground traffic systems at risk below or the same as for fossil fuel transport.

    The specific objectives are: a critical analysis of the effectiveness of conventional safety measures for hydrogen incidents; generation of unique experimental data using the best European hydrogen safety research facilities and three real tunnels; understanding of relevant physics to underpin the advancement of hydrogen safety engineering; innovative explosion and fire prevention and mitigation strategies; new validated CFD and FE models for consequences analysis; new engineering correlations for novel quantitative risk assessment methodology tailored for tunnels and underground parking; harmonised recommendations for intervention strategies and tactics for first responders; recommendations for inherently safer use of hydrogen vehicles in underground transportation systems; recommendations for RCS.
    The objectives will be achieved by conducting interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral research by a carefully built consortium of academia, emergency services, research and standard development organisations, who have extensive experience from work on hydrogen safety and safety in tunnels and other confined spaces. The complementarities and synergies of theoretical, numerical and experimental research will be used to close knowledge gaps and resolve technological bottlenecks in inherently safer use of hydrogen in confined spaces.

    The project outcomes will be reflected in appropriate recommendations, models and correlations could be directly implemented in relevant RCS (UN GTR#13, ISO/TC 197, CEN/CLC/TC 6, etc.). HyTunnel-CS will reduce over-conservatism, increase the efficiency of installed safety equipment and systems to save costs of underground traffic systems.

  • Proof of Concept 629: Composite tank prototype for onboard hydrogen storage based on novel Ulster's leak-no-burst safety technology

    Funder: Invest Northern Ireland
    Duration: 01 April 2017 – 31 March 2019
    Staff Involved: Prof Vladimir Molkov, Dr Dmitriy Makarov, Dr Sergii Kashkarov

    The aim of this Proof of Concept project is the development of a composite tank prototype for high-pressure onboard storage of hydrogen which can withstand any fire without a catastrophic rupture, i.e. explosion free in a fire tank.

    Ulster University has developed the breakthrough leak-no-burst (LNB) safety technology (International Publication WO2018149772A1 “Composite Pressure Vessel for Hydrogen Storage”, publishing date 23 August 2018) that excludes tank rupture in a fire even if a thermally activated pressure relief device (TPRD) is failed by whatever reason and works for any storage pressure, including immediately after the filling, both for localised and engulfing fire scenarios at any heat release rate in a fire.

    The main project activities include the design of a tank prototype using Ulster’s LNB technology, its manufacturing, testing and product marketing. The project team has been succeeding in manufacturing of the first all-composite explosion-free tanks following the designs by Ulster and successful testing them in a fire without rupture. The ongoing research is aimed at the optimisation of explosion-free tanks to reduce their outer volume, weight and cost through material parameters design. The team at Ulster is expanding collaborations with OEMs and tank manufacturers.

  • Proof of Concept Plus: Optimisation of explosion-free in a fire composite cylinder to industrial requirements

    Funder: Invest Northern Ireland
    Duration:  18 June 2019 – 1 June 2020
    Staff Involved: Prof Vladimir Molkov, Dr Dmitriy Makarov, Dr Sergii Kashkarov

    The aim of this Proof of Concept Plus project is the development and manufacture of a composite tank prototype with an improved combination of fibres and resins to achieve the tank wall thickness equal to that of the original tank. The aim was formulated during UN ECE Global Technical Regulation on Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Vehicles No. 13 IWG SGS meetings attended by OEMs and tank manufacturers. The main project activities include the design and manufacturing of the new optimised hybrid composite tank prototypes informed by thermal properties of new fibre-resin composites through numerical design. The commercialisation engagement has been done through different routes, including the meeting with vehicle manufacturers, composite cylinder manufacturers, experts from standard development organisations such as BSI, CEN/CENELEC and ISO acting in the area of hydrogen technologies.

  • EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Hydrogen (SusHy)

    Funder: EPSRC
    Duration: 01 April 2019 – 30 September 2027
    Staff involved: Dr Dmitriy Makarov, Prof Vladimir Molkov, Dr Sile Brennan, Dr Volodymyr Shentsov

    The project is a collaboration between the Universities of Nottingham, Loughborough, Birmingham and Ulster supported by over 40 companies and organisations. The EPSRC CDT SusHy has four overarching centre objectives:

    1. Deliver high-quality transdisciplinary training, covering fundamental science, applied engineering, and systems issues and build an appreciation of societal barriers to innovation.
    2. Through innovation opportunities, build initiative and stimulate an entrepreneurial mindset.
    3. Deliver “industry ready” doctorates who have a comprehensive skill set and experiences.
    4. Co-create research ideas and undertake in partnership with our stakeholders, cutting edge investigations of hydrogen-based solutions to deep decarbonisation of the energy system.

    The EPSRC CDT SusHy is seeking to train at least 67 PhDs (across five years of intake) to achieve the mass uptake of hydrogen technologies in the UK and beyond. Ulster University leads safety vector of this multidisciplinary research and will train within the project 7 PhD students. All research topics are aligned to research priorities identified by experts and stakeholders in the field of hydrogen technologies.

    The project provides a 4-year integrated PhD programme in Sustainable Hydrogen consisting of taught skills, experiential learning and a research project. Recruiting is ongoing until 2023, interviews are arranged bimonthly. Potential candidates may apply either:

    • by registering their interest at Doctoral College portal of Ulster University and choosing one of HySAFER Centre topics for 4-year integrated PhD opportunity;
    • or at the project website  (please copy to Principal Investigator from HySAFER Centre Dr Dmitriy Makarovat ). Please indicate you are applying for PhD study in hydrogen safety.
  • HyResponder: European Hydrogen Train the Trainer Programme for Responders

    Funder: H2020-JTI-FCH (Project ID 875089)
    Duration:  01 January 2020 – 31 December 2022
    Staff Involved: Dr Sile Brennan, Prof Vladimir Molkov, Dr Dmitriy Makarov

    The HyResponder project aims to develop and implement a sustainable trainer the trainer programme in hydrogen safety for responders throughout Europe, supporting the commercialisation of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies by informing responders involved in the permitting process, improving resilience and preparedness, and ensuring appropriate accident management and recovery. The specific objectives of the project include the development of clear and updated operational, virtual reality, and educational training for trainers of responders to reflect the state-of-the-art in hydrogen safety.

    The European Emergency Response Guide for responders will be revised to reflect advancements. The materials will incorporate identified intervention strategies and tactics for liquefied hydrogen applications. A Pan-European Network of responder trainers will be established and trainers from at least 10 European countries will attend a bespoke course in hydrogen safety pertinent to responders. Using feedback from the network on national specificities, educational training materials will be adapted where required to reflect regional peculiarities. The materials for responders will be translated and made available in 8 languages via an e-Platform. The translated materials will be utilised by the newly trained trainers to deliver workshops in 10 countries across Europe enhancing the reach and impact of the programme.

    National Training Clusters will be developed to consolidate links between the hydrogen safety and responder communities and to support the delivery of workshops at a national level. Through the establishment of an International e-forum for responders, and the integration of the translated materials in the e-Platform, it is anticipated that a sustainable pan-European training programme in hydrogen safety for responders will be developed, which will be recognised as the standard in hydrogen safety training across Europe.

  • Kelvin-2: Tier 2 High-Performance Computing Services

    Funder: EPSRC
    Duration: 01 December 2019 – 30 November 2023
    Staff Involved: Dr Dmitriy Makarov, Prof Vladimir Molkov, Dr Volodymyr Shentsov

    The EPSRC funded Kelvin-2 project is a collaboration between Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University. The project aims to establish a unique for Northern Ireland High-Performance Computing (HPC) centre “Kelvin-2” and to accelerate research activity in a range of specialist areas, some relatively new to HPC and strategically important to the UK. The result will be the creation of a strong, synergistic hub that increases UK impact both economically and socially.

    It is expected that Kelvin-2 will act as a hub to enhance industry-academia research by allowing the hi-tech industry to more effectively engage with HPC. In the same time, the facility will provide broader links with HPC communities and high-quality HPC research centres nationally (by close integration with UK HPC Tier-2 infrastructure), cross-border (via links with Irish Centre for High-End Computing) and internationally (engaging with HPC expertise at Virginia Tech. and Lawrence Livermore National Lab).
    To achieve the above goal, six HPC-based research projects will act as exemplars and encourage the more effective application of HPC. The proposed projects are directly associated with strategically important research centres in both institutions including Hydrogen Safety Engineering and Research Centre (HySAFER). The proposed research themes will constitute 40% of the total Kelvin-2 resource, while 35% CPU time will be dedicated to supporting general Tier-2 national service users and the remaining 25% will be allocated to new projects. A Resource Allocation Panel will be established to review and allocate the resources, meeting quarterly.

    The DELL-based HPC facility will have 8,000 AMD CPUs and 32 GPU nodes with high-performance 2 Petabyte storage, which will offer low running costs combined with impressive performance. Amount of EPSRC support to the project is £2.1M, with further £3.0M resources provided by the Universities in the form of management, operational staff, new hardware and software.