Inaugural New Zealand Hydrogen Symposium

Aotearoa New Zealand’s first research-focused symposium bringing together international expertise on hydrogen will be held at the University of Otago early next month.

The inaugural New Zealand Hydrogen Symposium (-1) will take place from 1 to 3 February as a multidisciplinary forum for the latest research on hydrogen, and will involve local and international experts, iwi, universities, government research agencies, policy and industrial partners.

Professor Sally Brooker and Dr Anna Garden, the New Zealand co-chairs of -1, based in the University of Otago’s Department of Chemistry, say the new symposium is timely due to the surging interest in the production, storage, use and integration of hydrogen.

Professor Sally Brooker said: “We are thrilled that this new symposium series is being supported by ‘team ‘, which includes, amongst others, the New Zealand Hydrogen Council, MacDiarmid Institute, Otago Energy Research Centre, German-New Zealand Green Hydrogen Centre, all New Zealand universities and two Crown Research Institutes,” Professor Brooker says.

Since 2021, in partnership with Ngāi Tahu, Professor Brooker and Dr Paul Jerabek, fellow co-chair of -1 and based at Germany’s Institute for Hydrogen Technology at Helmholtz Zentrum Hereon, have been working on establishing the German-New Zealand Green Hydrogen Centre at the University of Otago.

Supported by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the German-New Zealand Green Hydrogen Centre is investigating safe, low-cost, hydrogen storage materials from New Zealand resources.

The Centre is supporting a New Zealand-wide research team in collaboration with Helmholtz Zentrum Hereon researchers, investigating the production of materials that enable safe and compact hydrogen storage at close to ambient pressure and temperature.

Dr Jerabek says New Zealand is an “ideal collaboration partner” for the developing, testing and establishing green hydrogen technologies.

“At Hereon we have developed cutting-edge hydrogen technologies, and we are enjoying working with our New Zealand partners as New Zealand is innovation-friendly and rich on renewable energy sources, as well as having a ‘can-do’ attitude,” Dr Jerabek says.

The -1 is supported by the New Zealand Hydrogen Council and will complement the industry focused H2 2 ZERO Summit first held by the Hydrogen Council in 2022. Both the Summit and the Symposium will be held on a recurring basis.

The three-day -1 will also include a public lecture given by Professor Martin Kaltschmitt, of the Hamburg University of Technology, Germany. This public lecture, in which he will discuss the status, developments and implications of green hydrogen, will take place on Wednesday February 1 at 5.30pm in the St David Lecture Theatre at the University of Otago.

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