The UK Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) have awarded grant funding in support of an industry and academic consortium led by Ilika Technologies Ltd.
The consortium has started a three year, £1.75 million project for the discovery and development of hydrogen storage materials.
At the Fuel Cell Expo in Tokyo earlier this year Masatami Takimoto, Executive Vice President of Toyota Motor Corporation stated that what is required is nothing short of an "epoch-making breakthrough" in hydrogen storage materials.
Accessing the advantages of fuel cell technology will require the development of a practical hydrogen storage material operating within stringent performance, volume and weight specifications.
The objective of this project is to accelerate research into the most promising of hydrogen storage materials, light metal hydrides.
The project combines the modelling and synthesis capabilities of Oxford University, the high throughput materials synthesis and screening technology of Ilika, the characterisation capability of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and the industrial scale-up expertise of Johnson Matthey plc.
Professor Brian Hayden, CSO at Ilika, commented, "We’re very excited to be rollingout our materials synthesis and screening technology to try to solve this challenge."
"We’re confident that our approach is close to one hundred times faster than other research techniques being used in the field."
"Clearly, the commercial impact of discovering and developing a suitable material for this application would be significant. This project forms part of our strategy for addressing this opportunity," stated Dr Barry Murrer, Director of the Johnson Matthey Technology Centre.
"I genuinely believe we can crack the problem with the teams we’ve picked to come together for this project," stated Professor Peter Edwards from Oxford University.
Professor Bill David from the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory added, "The focus of our answer to the Grand Challenge is a consortium of researchers in academia, industry and the big national laboratories; a unique combination of many of the leading UK players."