Conference looks to the future with hydrogen and fuel cells


H2FC Supergen’s Progress and Future Challenges in Hydrogen and Fuel Cell conference saw reflection on the achievements of Supergen and its alumni over the past 18 years, as well as discussion on how hydrogen and fuels will contribute to net zero.

Held on 14 July, the 250 plus academics, researchers, industry professionals and policymakers in attendance heard how many of Supergen’s alumni are now senior academics and industry professionals in the field, as well as some of the contributions the Supergens have made on research, policy and the whole community as Professor Nigel Brandon, Co-Director of the H2FC Supergen Hub, spoke in the opening session.

Sue Ellis, Research Director at Johnson Matthey –  and Advisory Board Chair – spoke on how since the inception of H2FC Supergen, hydrogen has gone from being “an option to a  necessity” in the net zero transition, with the hub playing a crucial part in this.

The first sessions of the day, dedicated to advances in fuel cells and electrolysers, saw speakers from the universities of Surrey, Strathclyde and St Andrews, as well as the Electrochemical Innovation Lab at UCL, discuss their research in this field, before attentions turned to commercialising hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, where discussions ranged from how the urgency for climate action is continuing to drive global demand for clean energy technologies to work on zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles.

In the penultimate session, hydrogen production storage, distribution and safety were areas to be covered, with Professor Valeska Ting of the University of Bristol outlining how the Supergens have helped her throughout her career to build links and collaborations, as well as offering examples of her work in hydrogen storage in nanoporous materials.

The final session was devoted to policy, system modelling, education and national programmes, with Sheila Samsatli of the University of Bath discussing her work developing large, high fidelity optimisation models for whole-system value chains to achieve net zero. Attendees also heard from Professor Paul Dodds of USL, who offered a comprehensive overview of challenges from a policy perspective facing hydrogen in heat, transport, markets and energy systems, while there was also insight into energy materials and talk on green hydrogen deployment in Scotland to achieve net zero.

Throughout the day, Calum, an illustrator from Scriberia, created visual overviews for each of the sessions, with the one he created for the final session of the day visible above.