Actuation Lab secure £3m contract to develop leak-free hydrogen valves

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 the development and certification of their novel Dragonfly Valve.

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 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, Actruation Lab has partnered with the University of South Wales (USW) Hydrogen Research Centre to demonstrate the valve and its capabilities.

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 the incubation programme as runners-up in the University’s New Enterprise Competition.

The 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.