II International Forum “Hydrogen Technologies for Developing World”

On 22–23 April 2008 II International Forum “Hydrogen Technologies for Developing World” was held in Russia (Moscow, President Hotel) in conjunction with 9th Steering Committee meeting of International Partnership for Hydrogen Economy (IPHE).

The Forum was organized by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, Federal Agency for Science and Innovation and International Partnership for Hydrogen Economy with support and participation of the European Commission, Center for Hydrogen Energy Technologies of UNIDO, Russian Academy of Sciences, National Association of Hydrogen Energy (Russian Federation), Russian Research Center “Kurchatov Institute”.

More than 250 people took part in the Forum, among them about 80 foreign delegates from IPHE-member countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Iceland, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, United Kingdom, USA and European Commission) as well as representatives of non-IPHE member countries (Malaysia, Morocco, Latvia, Iran, Israel, Turkey, South Africa, Portugal, Ukraine).

The Plenary session of the Forum held together with the 9th IPHE Steering Committee meeting was devoted to hydrogen and fuel cells national programs and strategies, with emphasis on the activities carried out by developing countries assessed in the context of the emerging global hydrogen and fuel cell market.

While presenting the Russian programme, Head of the Federal Agency for Science and Innovation S. Mazurenko described the national policy in the field of hydrogen technologies & fuel cells as an element of innovative development of the Russian energy sector. An overview of the main hydrogen and fuel cell-related research and development areas and projects implemented by Russian research institutions was given. M. V. Kovalchuck, head of the Russian research center “Kurchatovsky Institute” laid a special stress on the effects which nanotechnologies and nanomaterials could have on the development of hydrogen technologies.

The reports made by the representatives from IPHE-member countries—Russian Federation, the USA (J. Milliken, US Department of Energy), Germany (J. Garche, WBZU), New Zealand (F. Blunden, Ministry of Economic Development), Iceland (Andres Svanbjornsson, Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism), Republic of Korea (Kee Suk Nahm, Chonbuk National University)—informed about the status of work, prospects and the main challenges faced by these countries during implementation of the national strategies and programmes.

As it follows from these reports, use of hydrogen for power generation is being developed by the countries with the view to address the energy challenges of today and future. Hydrogen as an energy carrier is considered to be a promising vector of the energy sector development: it has the potential to reduce dependence on petroleum, decrease pollution and green gas emissions. Diversification of energy sources is also expected to contribute to a more sustainable development of the world economy. Among global drivers underpinning international effort in RDD for emerging hydrogen economy are also concerns over global warming and climate change. The RDD efforts today cover a wide range of issues with the focus on hydrogen and fuel cell technologies for light-duty vehicles, distributed power generation, auxiliary power, and portable power applications. Hydrogen production is the key issue needed to be solved for full market-penetration of hydrogen-based power generation systems and fuel cell vehicles. Different pathways are studied: coal and biomass gasification with carbon sequestration; wind- and solar-driven electrolysis; photoelectrochemical and biological production; solar and nuclear high-temperature thermochemical water splitting; and high-temperature electrolysis. There is an increasingly growing interest to hydrogen storage and fuel cells, especially driven by efforts to create sustainable energy systems with integrated renewable energy sources. A number of demonstration projects that are being implemented worldwide provide valuable information about possible applications of hydrogen technologies and fuel cells for power generation and transportation as well as public acceptance of these technologies.

As has been stressed by most speakers the key element of the national hydrogen and fuel cell strategies is close involvement of industry and business in both the planning and the implementation of R&D activities in order to ensure that the Program’s priorities are closely aligned with those of industry. It is usually done through different types of strategic partnerships. Raffale Liberali, Director for Energy (European Commission DGR) presented a Joint Technology Initiative in the field of hydrogen technologies and fuel cells as an element of the European Commission strategy to promote hydrogen technologies and a new mechanism of industry involvement. The activities aimed at involvement of the society and consolidation of efforts of all interested parties in Russia with the view to advance hydrogen technologies were presented by the President of the National Hydrogen Energy Association P. Shelisch.

Alongside with advanced industrial powers a lot of attention to development of hydrogen technologies is being given by developing countries, including growing economies. The reports about policies and activities aimed at development and introduction of hydrogen technologies and fuel cells were presented at the Forum by Brazil (Joao Jose de Nora Souto, Ministry of Mining and Energy), China (Honghang Sun, Ministry of Science and technologies), India (Das Lalit, Center for Energy Studies).

For Brazil development of hydrogen technologies is an integral part and expansion of its activities in biofuels production and energy generation from biomass.

For China hydrogen and fuel cell technologies is a key area of innovation, one out of the 7 top priorities identified in the National mid-to-long term science and technology development plan adopted for the period of 2006-2020. A variety of hydrogen production sources are being studied, among them are coal, oil, natural gas, biomass (including marine green algae), solid waste, wind, as well as use of geothermal, solar and nuclear energy. Large-scale projects include construction of IGCC Power Plant and use of FC-powered vehicles for Olympic games in Beijing.

As has been reported by Professor Das Lalit Mohan from the Centre for Energy Studies of the Indian Institute of Technology (New Delhi, India) hydrogen application in internal combustion (IC) engines forms a major activity of the roadmap prepared by the National Hydrogen Energy Board of India. It covers use of hydrogen in existing designs of internal combustion engines both in transportation sector and as decentralised energy units. Amongst the various modes of fuel induction techniques adopted for engine operation, timed manifold injection has been observed to be the most effective for optimum performance and low emission characteristics in the existing spark ignition engines.

Non-IPHE member countries also shared their experience of developing hydrogen technologies and implementing pilot projects. Khalid Benhamou, Managing Director, Sahara Wind Inc. (Morroco) told about project development activities funded by NATO under mechanisms of the Mediterranean dialogue partnership which are aimed at development of integrated energy systems. The system is expected to integrate locally the energy potential of trade winds that blow along the Atlantic coast from Morocco to Senegal and that are known to be the most productive wind potentials available on earth. Wind-electrolysis for the production of hydrogen generating large quantities of cheap wind electricity is expected to maximize the renewable energy uptake in the weak grid infrastructures of the Saharan region countries. It is also expected to enable local industries to tap into widely available renewable energy sources thus opening a realm of possibilities within the mining industries and the value added processing of raw minerals. The exports of these could generate key incomes in regions most exposed to the consequences of climate change.

Malaysia’s efforts to develop hydrogen technologies are driven by high oil and gas import dependence of the country and make an integral part of its long-term action plan aimed at enhancing national energy security. Since 1999 Malaysia has been pursuing a policy for greater utilization of renewable energy sources. The hydrogen and fuel cell research and development activities are mainly focused on engineering of fuel cells, membrane cathode assemblies, bipolar materials and their manufacturing. Malaysia is presently in the process of developing a country’s roadmap which envisages expansion of solar energy, introduction of renewable hydrogen energy and application of fuel cells as primary energy conversion devices.

The main driver for South Africa to participate in the emerging hydrogen economy was reported to be its dominating position in platinum reserves (more than 75 % of the world’s known reserves), the key catalytic material used in hydrogen fuel cells.

The primary goals of the Strategy for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Development approved by the South African Government in May 2007 is wealth creation through high value-added manufacturing of Platinum Group Metal Catalysts and development of local cost-competitive hydrogen generation solutions by building on existing knowledge of high-temperature gas-cooled nuclear reactors and Fischer-Tropsch coal gasification technology. It has as its objective to supply about 25 % of catalyst demand for the global fuel cell industry by 2020.

International experts—representatives of UNIDO\ICHET and UNDESA—gave an overview of hydrogen energy strategies of developing countries and described the efforts of international organizations in advancement of more energy efficient technologies, including hydrogen technologies.

On 23 April 2008 there were 4 parallel sessions working where a wide range of issues were discussed:

Session 1: Hydrogen technologies for developing world (2 sections):

  1. Section 1: with separate panel discussions of hydrogen production and fuel cells issues;
  2. Section 2: with separate panel discussions of
    • systems for hydrogen storage and purification,
    • application of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in transport and energy sector,
    • hydrogen safety issues.

Session 2: Educational and social aspects of hydrogen economy establishment with a separate panel discussion of technology knowledge dissemination, specialized training and “Youth section” where 8 young scientists and post graduate students presented results of their research work; as special forms of the activities aimed at raising public awareness “the hydrogen club” organized by MIREA students and clubs established in school № 179 (Moscow), school № 9 (Chelyabinsk) and school № 1964 (St.Peterburg) were presented there.

Session 3: International cooperation in the field of hydrogen technologies where experience of cooperative projects implemented on a bilateral basis or within a multilateral framework was analyzed as well some new prospects and formats of international cooperation were discussed.

Session 4: Public private partnership as a factor of hydrogen economy establishment (Business Forum) where forms, mechanisms and experience of public private partnerships created in different parts of the world to advance hydrogen economy (Russia, Israel, Japan, China, European Union, the USA) as well as practical experience of large-scale H2\FC project implementation were discussed.

On the whole during the two days of the Forum 87 reports were made.

More detailed information will be made available at the web-site: h2forum2008.ru and incot.ru.

[ Back ]