The H2FC SUPERGEN had its third annual Research Conference at the University of Bath from 14th to 16th Dec. The conference was attended by 125 delegates, with participation of 40 PhD students, 60 researchers/academics and 15 industry figures and government advisors working across the field of hydrogen and fuel cells.
The conference included insights on the future of the industry from key representatives working in government, industry and academia.
On the opening session of the conference Prof. John Loughhead (DECC’s Chief Scientific Advisor) presented the UK government’s plans for meeting the CO2 reduction targets, in light of the discussions held in Paris at the COP21 meeting in the days before the conference. Prof. Loughhead, drew attention the cost of expanding the energy electricity grid and the importance of having hydrogen in the power grid for peak demand and energy balancing. Kathryn Magnay (EPSRC, Head of the RCUK Energy Programme) presented the priorities and plans for the Research Council UK’s Energy Programme to tackle the Energy ‘trilemma’ of reducing carbon emissions, energy security and affordability. Kathryn Magnay reported that the EPSRC Spending Review, for allocating £6.4bn a year for research, resources and skills development, was under way and the results are expected to be announce early February.
This year we had two international plenary session speakers Prof. Bjørn C. Hauback (Institute for Energy Technology, Head of Physics Dept, Norway), who presented the latest developments and challenges in hydrogen storage research and the specific work undertaken by his group on solid state storage of hydrogen. Prof.Chang Soo Kim (from the Korean Institute of Energy Research – KIER) presented the developments and plans for hydrogen and fuel cell technology in South Korea, with examples of applications in different areas, as well as the the research being undertaken at KIER on fuel cells.
Other Plenary session speakers included directors and leaders of companies in the Hydrogen & Fuel Cell sector, who presented the work undertaken in their companies: Nick Van Dijk (ITM, Director of R&D), Subhasish Mukerjee (Ceres Power, Director, Fuel Cell and Stack Development), Ralph Clague (Intelligent Energy, Head of Systems and Architecture), Kevin Fothergill (Johnson Matthey, Commercial Director Non-automotive Business), Ben Madden (Element Energy, Director), Emma Guthrie (Air Products, Hydrogen Energy Systems, Business Development Manager) and Dmitriy Makarov (Ulster University, HySAFER centre, Hydrogen Safety & Storage). Presentation sessions on the themes of Hydrogen Storage, Hydrogen Production, Hydrogen Safety & Storage, H2FC systems, PEFCs, SOFCs and novel Fuel Cells ran throughout the 3 days.
This year we had a three minute thesis presentation competition (3MT) in addition to the poster completions, which we intend on having again in Dec 2016 due to keen interest from students who want to take part in the challenge to present their research in such a concise and engaging style. The poster and 3MT prizes were announced at the Conference dinner held at the historic Assembly Rooms in the Bath city centre.
The conference which brought the UK H2FC community together had a lot of positive feedback for the quality of presentations. This conference which also provided a brilliant opportunity to network across academia, industry and government will be held again this year in December, the venue and dates will be announced in early spring 2016.