Green hydrogen has emerged as the next big step in the global energy transition. With the very real possibility to end our fossil fuel dependency, industry leaders around the world are scrambling to play a part in this promising movement. As usual, Europe leads the way with massive investment and development in green hydrogen, while EIT InnoEnergy teams up with top tech and business leaders to accelerate the transition to green H2. One of the academic experts in this field involved in EIT InnoEnergy Master’s programmes, Professor Massimo Santarelli of Politecnico di Torino, shares his insights on this innovative topic and the related activities to be found at PoliTo – which he leads within the EIT InnoEnergy Master’s in Sustainable Energy Systems programme.
First, let’s look at this intriguing energy vector that has caught the world’s attention. Green H2 is a no -carbon chemical made from water (or recovered from biomass), created by using renewably produced electricity (or other RES-fed processes) to split hydrogen molecules from oxygen molecules. Prof. Santarelli explains why this technology is so ground-breaking, “It creates a totally clean and sustainable renewable energy vector. It is the best chemical (because it’s clean and simple to produce) to be used to match primary RES and final loads in all the major sectors that rely on fossil fuels right now. This includes transportation, residential, industrial, etc. It will also play a role in RES high energy long-term storage. And finally, it’s the platform molecule for the green chemistry of the future – a very flexible molecule and quite simply one of the most important actors in the matrix of solutions for energy transition and decarbonisation.”
Prof. Santarelli shares the cutting-edge programmes offered at PoliTo on the subject: “The university has a long history of H2-related research and projects over the last few decades, with several laboratories dedicated to the topic. We offer a variety of activities on several topics ranging from the production of green H2 (through RES-fed electrolysis, chemical looping, photocatalytic processes, and bio-chemical pathways) to its broad range of uses (in fuel cells, gas turbines, and fuel to the powertrain in the automotive sector). We also cover the storage of green H2 and the production of synthetic chemicals from it. Specifically, my course ‘Polygeneration and Advanced Energy Systems’ is devoted to green H2 innovation, which is part of the Master’s in Sustainable Energy Systems. New EU-wide educational activities are also being created as this topic gains momentum, such as the EU project TEACHY, available in 2021.”
EIT InnoEnergy is focusing on green hydrogen as its great potential for clean energy production unfolds. The European Green Hydrogen Acceleration Center (EGHAC), managed by EIT InnoEnergy and supported by Breakthrough Energy (a network of entities founded by Bill Gates and the world’s top tech and business leaders), will advance this sector by developing a €100 billion a year green hydrogen economy by 2025. The concept is to create a world-class investment environment to accelerate innovation and production capacity, and EGHAC promises to accelerate green hydrogen production at gigawatt scale to deliver large-scale industrial projects across Europe. This could create half a million jobs across the green hydrogen value chain as it expedites the transition to a clean energy future! Read more about this exciting collaboration here.
PoliTo is top destination for all things H2 since they are active in the complete value chain of H2 at every level. This know-how is translated into the EIT InnoEnergy Master’s programmes offered at this institution – and EIT InnoEnergy is proud to offer their Master’s in Sustainable Energy Systems programme through this partner university. As Prof. Santarelli says, “H2 is at the centre of the energy transition, and together with CO2 recovery, they can radically change how RES will enter into every single aspect of the society of the future!”