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Forum Showcases Importance of Emerging Hydrogen Economy

March 14, 2023

Forum Showcases Importance of Emerging Hydrogen Economy

Rouzbeh Moghanloo, Pejman Kazempoor, Steven Crossley, John Sheffield, Tim Filley, Baharak Sajjadi, and Li Song
Rouzbeh Moghanloo, Ph.D., Pejman Kazempoor, Ph.D., Steven Crossley, Ph.D., John Sheffield, Ph.D., Tim Filley, Ph.D., Baharak Sajjadi, Ph.D., and Li Song, Ph.D.

Green hydrogen and its global impact on the emerging hydrogen economy was the focus of a two-day faculty dialogue presented by the Institute for Resilient Environmental and Energy Systems (IREES) featuring guest presenter John Sheffield, Ph.D., president of the International Association for Hydrogen Energy, professor at the Purdue Polytechnic Institute, and a 2023 IREES Energy Scholar. 

“If I had to point to one organization for the emerging hydrogen economy, it would be the Hydrogen Council,” Sheffield said. “Instead of being an initiative of a government, it was started by CEOs who believe hydrogen can foster the clean energy transition.”

The Hydrogen Council was launched at the World Economic Forum in Jan. 2017 with the belief that hydrogen has a key role to play in reaching global decarbonization goals by diversifying energy sources worldwide, fostering business and technological innovation as drivers for long-term economic growth and decarbonizing hard-to-abate energy sectors.

Based on findings from the World Economic Forum, Sheffield presented a summary of current challenges along with a list of potential technological solutions for green hydrogen.

“When we start thinking about a hydrogen economy, organizations need to scale up and improve their green hydrogen design to meet market demands. That means we need to overbuild so that we have the renewable electricity to produce green hydrogen,” Sheffield said.

Building a renewable-focused curriculum is one way Sheffield believes colleges and universities can help create a green hydrogen economy. He suggested attendees examine Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands as a model to follow.

“We can really start seeing opportunities for synergy when we develop curricula and pedagogies that focus broader than just the energy component. The future of the pedagogies must have elements of certification that aren’t bound by borders, and should have interchangeable modules with cohort learners.” Sheffield said.

From an international perspective, two key multilateral international partnerships that facilitate cooperative research and development efforts are the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy and the International Energy Agency Technology Collaboration programs.

“My suggestion is to become members, get active and get into leadership positions in these organizations,” Sheffield said. “They have work groups that would perfectly align with your potential activities here at OU.”

In addition to Sheffield’s presentations, attendees participated in breakout sessions focused on the University of Oklahoma’s efforts to develop hydrogen program certifications, create an inclusive multidisciplinary student community, engage with workforce development, and leverage federal funding opportunities.

Learn more about the low-carbon energy and infrastructure efforts being undertaken by OU’s Institute for Resilient Environmental and Energy Systems.