Introduction and H2 – Opening Speeches

At the beginning of the policy forum, Peter Kumer (Ministry of Science, Education and Sport) presented the status of the roadmap on hydrogen technologies in Slovenia and Austria, a document developing within the activities of H2GreenTECH project. In the first part of the policy forum, Petra Props (National Institute of Chemistry) also welcomed all participants. She moderated the opening speeches, which started with Helene Chraye, the Head of the Clean Energy Transition Unit (European Commission Initiatives on Hydrogen). She emphasized the importance of H2 in Europe’s energy future and assured every possible financial support for H2 in both research funding and business. Blaž Likozar from the National Institute of Chemistry (Slovenia) pointed out the need to strengthen cooperation between industry, research and politics. Viktor Hacker from the Institute of Chemical Engineering and Environmental Technology (CEET) presented the status of H2 research of fuel cells at the Graz University of Technology. He also invited to the “8th Regional Symposium on Electrochemistry of Southeast Europe” from July 11 to 15, 2022, organised by TU Graz. The session continued with Wolfgang Werth from the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences / System Desing (Austria). He spoke about the importance of hydrogen in academic teaching and pleaded for open laboratories for industry and research. Tomaž Boh from the Ministry of Education, Research and Sport particularly pointed out the importance of cooperation between research and politics.

Inspirational speeches

Other inspiring speeches were given by Alexander Meincke of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research from Germany and Paul McCormack of Belfast Metropolitan College from the United Kingdom. Meincke spoke about the important agenda process of green hydrogen and McCormack about experiences and lessons learned from the GenComm project (Generating Energy from Regional Communities) and other projects on hydrogen-based technology. He presented results from already 10 years of research with hydrogen primarily in conjunction with wind farms and off-shore plants in the UK and Ireland. He sees the future of H2 primarily in green hydrogen storage.

3 Workshops

Workshop 1: Transfer of research and innovation to industry and vice versa

After a short coffee break, the three workshops began. The first workshop, moderated by Sigrid Wolf (TU Graz), was entitled “Transfer of research and innovation to industry and vice versa”. There, Viktor Hacker from TU Graz and Gernot Voitic from Rouge H2 Engineering GmbH presented their collaboration between research and industry in the OSOD (Onsite-ondemand) project, which provides decentralised solutions for local resources. Advantages of this project are high flexibility, relatively low cost of H2 and high purity of hydrogen (99.99%). Vojka Žunič and Urban Šegedin from the National Institute of Chemistry showed different possibilities of H2 transfer from small-scale research to the economic market. On the one hand it would be about the technological push and on the other hand about the pull of the market, both requiring a stronger dialogue between government, research sector and industry.

Workshop 2: Political Framework and Priorities

The second workshop was moderated by Peter Kumer from the Slovenian Ministry of Education, Science and Sport. Vesna Krulej from the Ministry of Infrastructure gave a presentation on the “Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Act”, the Reshub project and the North Adriatic Hydrogen Valley – Slovenia, Croatia and Italy cross-border project. Andreas Dorda from the Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (Austria) presented the “Renewable Energy Expansion Act” from 2021, in which hydrogen will play a greater role. Several million euros will be made available for transnational H2 research projects in the coming years. Nena Dokuzov from the Slovenian Ministry of Economic Development and Technology showed different types of investments to improve energy efficiency for companies through different solutions such as energy storage, sustainable mobility and of course hydrogen technology. At the end of the second workshop, Zoran Marinšek from the Competence Center for Advanced Control Technologies (Slovenia) referred to the “Roadmap for hydrogen-based economy” and pointed out: strengthening H2 application in companies, distributed production and H2 as part of a local energy system and cross-border or regional cooperation.

Workshop 3: Possibilities for Joint Financing of Research, Development and Innovation of Hydrogen Technologies

After another coffee break, Dragica Marinič (Styria Chamber of Commerce and Industry) moderated Workshop 3, “Opportunities for joint financing of research, development and innovation of hydrogen technologies”. Interesting answers came from Peter Raimann from the Austrian Energy Agency, who pointed out the importance of research funding platforms like A3PS, where the Roadmap Eco Mobility 2030Plus can be found, or WIVA P & G, the Hydrogen Initiative and Energy Model Region of Austria. Or Marko Hren from the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy, who especially highlighted the possibilities of joint funding for research as an important point. Harald Ladich from the Business Agency Burgenland is convinced that H2 will become more and more important in future EU projects and that cooperation in these EU projects must be strengthened. This opinion was also shared by Tomaž Vuk from the cement company Salonit Anhovo from Deskle in Slovenia, saying that in the field of H2 one has to be very fast in all areas and find special solutions for individual company problems, possibly with different business models.

Finally, Marion Schönfeldinger from Forschung Burgenland summarized the contents and gave an outlook on the most important 3 points to promote and support H2, which could be heard from all presentations:

More collaboration, drastically increasing the speed and new ways of thinking are inevitable for green H2 to contribute to reach the – 55% Goals of CO2 emissions!