The Interreg North West Europe funded Belfast Met led EU hydrogen project ran from 2017 and was instrumental in establishing three European GenComm Hydrogen Hub pilot plants producing hydrogen by solar, wind and biomass methods.
In the past six months alone the GenComm output ‘Hydrogen Ireland’ held its first annual conference in Dublin which Eamon Ryan, Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications (ROI) addressed. A second Hydrogen Ireland conference will be held this November in Belfast.
Also, within the past six months the GenComm output the ‘Enabling Support Tool’ went live globally on January 31, 2023. This clean technology data analytics tool assists stakeholders in making decisions regarding the optimum decarbonization solutions for a bus fleet based on total cost of ownership, (TCO), total cost of carbon abatement (TCA) and the operational demand.
GenComm Partners also published a report on the opportunities presented by hydrogen in Northern Ireland’s green energy transition. The report was funded by Northern Ireland’s Department for the Economy to contribute to the evidence base for the development of a new Energy strategy.
In 2022 GenComm Partners contributed to the Matrix -Northern Ireland Science Industry Panel Foresight Study-Northern Ireland’s Future Hydrogen Demand and Capability report.
As a result of the work of GenComm the Northern Ireland Hydrogen Training Academy has become a reality with courses ranging from level 2 through to PGCE level, including a Train the Trainer course at level 5.
Chief Executive of Belfast Met, Louise Warde Hunter stated, “The pioneering GenComm project has proved to be a key catalyst driving the clean hydrogen energy transition. Hydrogen is one of the clean energy solutions that will decarbonize Europe’s industry, transport, buildings, and energy sectors, demonstrated by the ambitious targets for production of hydrogen set by the European Green Deal and REPowerEU.
“Skills will be key in translating the policy ambitions into reality. Belfast Met is delivering the skills mechanisms, modules and mobility that will provide the foundations for a sustainable clean energy economy.”
GenComm prided itself on producing energy secure communities including the first hydrogen supply chain on the island of Ireland with hydrogen produced to power hydrogen buses in Belfast. The GenComm Community Hydrogen Forum has helped encourage the development of the ‘Hydrogen Valleys’ concept across Europe. These valleys are disrupting the current fossil fuel-based energy status quo.
SH2AMROCK, the first hydrogen valley in Ireland has led to the Galway Hydrogen Hub consisting of eight members including GenComm Partner, the University of Galway. It will deliver a multi modal zero emission, renewable hydrogen transport hub to initially fuel buses and trucks, expanding to ferries and aviation and industrial heat applications. It will be easily replicable across Ireland and beyond and will be fully operational in 2025.
GenComm has also been instrumental in helping secure Project Development Assistance (PDA) from the Brussels based Clean Hydrogen Partnership for the H2ORIZON, Valentia Island hydrogen hub development in Kerry. Energy connectivity for this remote island will help its people gain access to goods, services, information and employment. Their tourism economy can diversify even more.
As for GenComm and its legacy. The Geothermal to Hydrogen route is now being built into a future project in anticipation of future funding opportunities. The Enabling Support Tool, (EST) and the Community Hydrogen Forum can help guarantee a long-term shift towards hydrogen.
More and more countries are releasing their own hydrogen roadmaps/ strategies. The Irish government’s Hydrogen Strategy is due in the third quarter of 2023. The purpose of previous GenComm HAZEL and SMART H2 international hydrogen webinars held in Belfast were to encourage a hydrogen highway from Macedonia to Galway. GenComm has presented its ongoing work throughout the projects timespan at both European Hydrogen Week and EU Energy Week.
Paul McCormack GenComm coordinator stated “ GenComm has been a pioneering clean hydrogen project demonstrating the potential of hydrogen as a clean energy vector as we tackle the crises of climate change and energy security.
“Our work is the foundation for the transition to net zero and has provided the tools for society to make informed decisions to replace fossil fuel use, and achieve the ambitious goal of becoming a climate neutral by 2050, The rapid development of the European Hydrogen Value Chain over the coming years is expected to generate approximately 1 million highly skilled jobs by 2030, and up to 5.4 million by 2050. GenComm has ensured that we are at the heart of this new clean economy.”
CAPTION: A Number of key energy stakeholders including GenComm Program Manager Paul McCormack pictured at Stormont with hydrogen buses.