by Richard Buckley, Editor, Business Eye

The Community Hydrogen Forum (CH2F) is holding a webinar on the hydrogen economy on February 18th with key speakers joining from as far afield as the Aran Islands and Tenerife. With an international line up of speakers the webinar is aimed at informing and stimulating discussions on how can hydrogen incrementally decarbonise our energy use spectrum.


The webinar will begin to articulate the use of hydrogen for transport use, land, sea and air. It is widely agreed that Green Hydrogen is a versatile fuel that offers a path to sustainable long-term economic growth. It is a carbon free solution in our battle to tackle climate change whilst developing new commercial opportunities for our industries.

The first speaker in the webinar will be from the Canary Islands, Spain, Irene García Fernández from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Energías Renovables (ITER) Institute of Technology and Renewable Energies). Irene will address the topic of ‘Zero Emission Road Transport’. Irene is a graduate in Biology from the University of La Laguna (Tenerife). With more than four years of experience in communication and awareness in the field of renewable energies, she is in charge of the ITER’s dissemination facilities. She has participated in various national and European projects, mainly in communication and awareness activities.

The second speaker is Avril Ni Shearcaigh from the Aran Islands Energy Co-Operative. Avril who will speak on ‘Sustainable Maritime Transports’. Avril is the manager of Comharchumann Fuinninmh Oileain Arann Teo, (Aran Islands Energy Co-Op). The energy co-op aims to make the Aran Islands self-sustainable and carbon neutral by 2022. They are a community owned energy co-operative on the Aran Islands in the mouth of Galway bay. The residents of the three islands are working towards becoming self-sufficient in locally generated renewable energy and free of dependence on oil, coal and gas by 2022.

The third speaker is the leader of the GenComm Technical Work Package Ian Williamson, who will speak on ‘The opportunity for low carbon air transport’. Ian runs an energy consultancy business based in the UK called ‘Hy Energy’ and acts as a business development director for companies finding their initial business in Europe and the UK. HyEnergy brings sector expertise to bear in various EU funded projects such as SeaFuel and Gencomm and prepares proposals for consortia, such as the first ever Hydrogen valley project funded by the FCH JU – the HEAVENN project. The company expanded its operations to the Netherlands last year.

Ian has over 30 years’ experience in industrial gases, primarily in the hydrogen energy sector having worked for Air Products. He has also been CEO of one of the few British fuel cell companies, AFC Energy, so he has wide ranging hydrogen supply and application expertise. Ian has been president of the European Hydrogen Association for the last 10 years.

The fourth speaker is Galway based Dr Rory Monaghan, who will speak on ‘The Community Hydrogen Forum, CH2F’. Rory is the Lecturer of Energy Engineering in the School of Engineering at the National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway). He is the Lead of the Energy Research Centre in the NUI Galway Ryan Institute, a Funded Investigator in MaREI, the SFI Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine, and the Director of the Energy Engineering Programme at NUI Galway. Rory has been researching hydrogen and fuel cells since 2003, when he commenced his graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Rory currently leads the Long-Term Effects work package of the €9.3 million GenComm project, which is funded by the EU Interreg North West Europe Programme. He was commissioned by the Department of the Economy to prepare the Think Piece on Hydrogen Opportunities for Northern Ireland.
Concluding the webinar, the three Interreg directors will speak jointly on the topic of ‘Collaborating to meet Europe’s energy challenges’. This Hydrogen Triple Alliance webinar focuses on the three projects that make up the Triple Alliance, namely, GenComm, HUGE and SeaFuel.

The alliance will integrate their resources to extend the reach of the Community Hydrogen Forum (CH2F), to share expertise and amplify the different resources developed in the projects, and most importantly, deliver enhanced benefits for European communities.

Paul Mc Cormack, GenComm Programme Manager said: “In order to make a just transition to a new green energy solution we must endeavour to leave no stranded assets. It is vital that all are well informed and enabled to take full commercial, social and environmental advantage of this transition. As we map out the green energy cardinal points on the Zero C02 Compass and plan the hydrogen highway we must ensure there are accessible on-ramps for all to join. The CH2F is the community on-ramp, a forum for all to engage, be informed and plan their journey, importantly allowing people to appraise the opportunities for themselves.”

Ms Desislava Todorova, HUGE Project Manager, said: “The Hydrogen Triple Alliance webinar will be an excellent showcase of how our respective hydrogen projects are contributing towards hydrogen aspirations in Europe. From a HUGE perspective, we look forward to sharing some of our outputs and expertise of the use of green hydrogen as a viable energy vector in remote and rural communities, by introducing you to one such community in the Aran Islands. We feel that coming together as an alliance of projects will help make the case for hydrogen to a wider audience and help deliver our aims well beyond our respective programme areas. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. “

Pau Farras, Co Ordinator of SEAFUEL, said: “The H2 triple alliance will go beyond the end of each individual project and provide a suitable platform for hydrogen knowledge exchange. “

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Event speaker Ian Williamson

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