Professor Peta Ashworth was fortunate to recently attend the World Hydrogen Summit 2022 in Rotterdam and was invited to Chair the Closing Panel Discussion entitled: Hydrogen Ecosystem: How different sectors are working together to implement a hydrogen future. The panel was comprised:
• H.E. João Galamba, Secretary of State for Environment and Energy, Portugal
• Oliver Thorel, VP Chemicals and Low Carbon Hydrogen, Aramco
• Ben Nyland, President & CEO, Loop Energy
• Glenn Llewellyn, Vice President, Zero-Emission Aircraft, Airbus
• Dr. Manfred Schuckert, Head of Regulatory Strategy and Int. Hydrogen Strategy, Daimler Truck AG
The Secretary of State for Environment and Energy, Portugal opened the session with a very positive view on their experience with developing a hydrogen hub to date. So much so they were soon to revise their strategy to raise their targets based on the likely demand they had seen emerge because of recent developments in Ukraine which has changed the nature of global energy demand for some time to come. He also talked about the role of interconnections beyond the traditional transmission lines and pipelines to one that consider the role of ports and shipping as interconnectors. Perhaps more in line with Australia’s considerations around exporting to Japan and Korea, for example.
The major themes that arose from the panel discussion centred around the importance of collaboration both along the value chain as well as across sectors and countries. The two forms of collaboration emphasised by Oliver Thorel was around technology development where it needed to be much more open source forming partnerships with those creating low carbon fuels, next generation reformers, injection of hydrogen into engines, combustion engines for ammonia, for example. The second form of collaboration was around business development where there was value in building large scale infrastructure, which allowed all partners to participate to allow cost improvements to influence the overall scale up. The importance of collaboration was stressed by all panellists as they emphasised the size of the likely market that is emerging for hydrogen in all its forms, which in turn leads to the need to achieve the scale required over a much shorter time period if the world is to meet global greenhouse gas mitigation targets.
Glen Llewellyn, reinforced that Airbus have been collaborating with a range of sectors for the first time which included everything from the automotive sector, renewable energy sector, the energy sector more broadly and even the space industry who have a great deal of experience with liquid hydrogen. He suggested that this does bring greater complexity but also new ways of working to approach the challenges of achieving scale. Glen expressed optimism for decarbonising the aviation sector, stressing they have a target to take a new aircraft model to market by 2035 and are working on a number of models with the one most likely to represent similar planes today but with a longer fuselage outside the passenger zone. He suggested the immediate opportunity is to work on travel that is less than 2000 nautical miles a this represents 58% of global aviation fuel use and so bringing hydrogen into these routes will significantly decarbonise emissions from flying.
The other important point stressed by Oliver Thorel from Aramco was the importance of regulations to provide the certainty to build scale. The need for regulations was also stressed by Dr Manfred Schuckert from Daimler, to ensure consistency and encourage industry to meet the ambitious mitigation targets. He suggested that if regulations did not encourage the transition, it may create a disadvantage to those investing in the new clean technology early on and highlighted that in Germany all trucks will need to be zero-emission by the end of the decade so eight short years to achieve this. However, the emissions reduction potential presented by this was huge. While several of the panellists favoured liquid hydrogen, there was still reference for the need to pursue all forms including ammonia and methanol as examples.
Look out for next year World Hydrogen Summit, 9 -11 May 2023, Rotterdam, Netherland.