Research project for future ‘green’ hydrogen energy

Posted on 2nd August 2018

The University of Chester’s Thornton Science Park and Costain, the smart infrastructure solutions company, have agreed a collaboration research project on decarbonising gas in the North West of England.

Thornton Science Park
Thornton Science Park

The University of Chester and Costain have signed up to tackle future energy challenges in a hydrogen energy project which will be based at Thornton Science Park in Cheshire. The University’s Departments of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Natural Sciences are involved in the collaboration, through the Faculty of Science and Engineering and the Thornton Energy Research Institute, alongside Costain’s teams in energy.

The research project will include original and advanced PhD level research, adopting an interdisciplinary framework to consider the infrastructure requirements for the region to realise the decarbonising gas agenda. More specifically, it will consider proposals for a Liverpool to Manchester Hydrogen Cluster and the development of carbon capture and storage infrastructure associated with the depleting Hamilton field in the East Irish Sea.

Gerard Shore, Oil and Gas Sector Director for Costain said: “I am excited by the potential of our research project with the University of Chester. Our country’s energy systems are transforming, yet it remains vital for them to deliver cost effective, resilient and low carbon supply for heat, transport and power. We will be working alongside the University to develop the new technologies and people needed, not only to keep pace with the energy transformation, but to lead it. Thornton’s location, both close to our Manchester office and in the centre of a very energy intensive region, makes the University an ideal partner for us.”

Professor Joe Howe, Executive Director of the Thornton Energy Research Institute UK said: “This is a great opportunity, leading the way in finding cleaner, greener sources of energy and allowing us to bring together academic and industrial knowledge and experience. I am looking forward to seeing what we can achieve in partnership with Costain, for the benefit of future energy systems, over the next five years.”

Paul Vernon, Senior Executive Director of Commercial Operations, and Chief Executive of Thornton Research Properties Limited, added: “This is one of a growing number of examples of how the University of Chester is working with industry to allow lightbulb moments to happen. Anyone wishing to find out more, or pay us a visit can do so by emailing”

Costain helps to improve people’s lives by deploying technology-based engineering solutions to meet urgent national needs across the UK’s energy, water and transportation infrastructures. Costain has been shaping the world in which we live for the past 150 years.

The Group’s ‘Engineering Tomorrow’ strategy involves focusing on blue chip clients in chosen sectors whose major spending plans are underpinned by strategic national needs, regulatory commitments or essential maintenance requirements.

Costain’s 4,100 people, who are committed to high performance and safe delivery, are working on a number of high profile contracts in the UK, incorporating a broad range of innovative services across the whole life-cycle of clients’ assets through the delivery of consultancy, technology, asset optimisation and complex delivery services.

The University of Chester’s Thornton Science Park is formerly the Shell Technology Centre, with a rich 75-year history in research and development and a particular focus on energy. The University of Chester is developing Thornton Science Park as a major research and innovation hub. The 28-hectare site offers over 90,000 square metres of industrial laboratories, workshops and office space for new and existing companies. As an emerging world-class centre of excellence for the energy, engineering and advanced manufacturing industries, Thornton Science Park is contributing to the UK Government’s vision to form a Northern Powerhouse.

Companies wishing to find out more about the research project can contact: