Actuation Lab secures £3m contract to support decarbonisation with hydrogen

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SETsquared Bristol

Low carbon hydrogen will be critical to the decarbonisation of the global energy supply. However, hydrogen has an extremely high leak propensity and a global warming potential 12 times greater than carbon dioxide if it escapes into the atmosphere. The risks of ignition associated with hydrogen are significant, particularly in enclosed spaces. To support the decarbonisation with hydrogen, new technologies will be required to significantly reduce the risk of atmospheric valve leakage.

Actuation Lab - Protium ElectrolyserOur member company Actuation Lab is applying the latest innovations in materials, manufacturing, and origami-inspired design to tackle the valve leakage issue. Its revolutionary ‘Dragonfly Valve’ will help enable the safe and sustainable transition to hydrogen use, and billions of tonnes of associated carbon savings.

In recognition of its groundbreaking technology, Actuation Lab has been awarded a £3 million contract from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero’s Net Zero Innovation Portfolio to support development and certification. It has partnered with the University of South Wales (USW) Hydrogen Research Centre to demonstrate its technology.

Actuation Lab was founded by three postdoctoral researchers from the University of Bristol in 2019. It joined SETsquared Bristol after receiving 12 months of funding for our incubation programme as runners-up in the University’s New Enterprise Competition.

Actuation Lab's Dragonfly ValveThe company has since been awarded multiple publicly funded contracts and has received support from green hydrogen energy company, Protium. Protium’s 100 kW electrolyser, which is currently hosted at the Hydrogen Centre at USW, provides the opportunity to showcase the capabilities of Actuation Lab’s ‘Dragonfly Valve’, once developed.

This collaboration of experts from Protium, Actuation Lab and the Hydrogen Centre at USW highlights the importance of reliable and safe valves in hydrogen systems, and demonstrates a commitment to advancing the technology and infrastructure needed to scale green hydrogen production.

The Dragonfly Valve is going through rigorous tests and certification processes planned to be completed by August 2024.

Find about more – Actuation Lab.


About the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio

The funding for the Low Carbon Hydrogen Supply 2 competition, which supports this work, comes from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero’s £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio. This funding supports low-carbon technologies and systems, and aims to decrease the costs of decarbonisation, helping the UK to end its contribution to climate change.

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