Is there an academic network for sharing research into hydrogen technology? I’m applying for a postdoctoral research fellowship investigating the efficient electrolysis of water and am keen to inform myself of avenues tried or untested before plunging in. I’m told there are substantial problems with rolling out hydrogen as a fuel, but also that there is a lot of very secretive research in this area. Thus seems an insanely capitalist attitude to saving the planet. Who out there is collating and sharing information on hydrogen technology? Is there a reputable and open hydrogen conference happening this year that I could attend without blowing my air mile budget literally out of the water?
I’ve written a report about hydrogen for RenewableUK some time ago but haven’t been that involved in what’s going on in the industry.
Hydrogen is a very useful way of storing energy by electrolysing water at peak energy production and then using it in a hydrogen fuel cell (in vehicle best application) at other times. The problem comes as conversion of energy costs, as does the technology of not built at scale. Around 10 years ago BMW went big on hydrogen and installed some refuelling places in Germany and then withdrew. The are a limited number of hydrogen buses in London and the Isle of Wight was aiming to become the first hydrogen economy. These things all worth researching.
The problem is that if you’re not electrolysing water for hydrogen you’re skimming it off natural gas which is counter intuitive to it as a solution for climate change. There needs to be infrastructure to support it…
This is probably why you have found the information quite hit and miss. It’s not because all the discussions are going underground on the topic it’s because people are nervous as to whether their will be large scale investment, and there are only few few players. Batteries are winning the battle at the moment but hydrogen may break through.
My guess is that hydrogen will be used to power buses and some cars, and locally we will electrolyse water when there is peak energy production. My money would be on the electrolysing units and researching how they are advancing.
Any chance you could report back on what you find?
Well, actually I am going through an application process for a research fellowship that will take nearly a year to get accepted onto the program and funded - if you know of any sponsors out there who would pay for 2-3 years of my time then I can get cracking on the project!
I did a quick search for associations in this space. I image you’ve already found these guys; UK Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association - probably a good place to start… Thinking you should look at their members and approach them for funding…