Hydrogen is a versatile energy carrier that will serve the transition to a zero-carbon economy in many industries. It is already widely used in the chemical and refining industries. The first implementations can also be found in the metallurgical, energy, glass and cement industries.
The most mature and widespread applications of hydrogen can be found in the field of transportation - from forklifts, cars, buses and trains, ships to airplanes and space rockets. The development of this technology will be supported by EU funds, which has focused on hydrogen in its energy transition strategy.
About 90 percent of hydrogen is produced and used in the fertilizer and refining industries. Hydrogen is also produced as a by-product in the chemical industry. The future lies in producing hydrogen from renewable sources - primarily by electrolysis, but also by biomass gasification
Only 15 percent of global hydrogen production is used off-site and transported as compressed gas or cryogenic liquid. This implies investment in infrastructure - from storage, pipeline transmission to liquefaction or transport as compressed gas.
Hydrogen valleys are regional ecosystems. The development will be based on the local production of hydrogen, which is transported over short distances. The basis is local demand based on the production of energy from renewable sources. This changing perspective will include education, research and development, implementation and industrial applications.
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Poland has ambitions to become one of the world's leading producers of 'green' hydrogen, and one of the world's leading suppliers of hydrogen technology.
Is this possible? Undoubtedly, yes. In order to do this, it is necessary to start from the basics - we are talking about education.
Let us make it simple. Why hydrogen? Why 'green'? Hydrogen, because burning it does not cause environmental degradation. Green, or sometimes called blue. Low- Carbon Hydrogen, green or blue hydrogen, is created thanks to renewable energy sources. It is one of the most perfect ways of storing energy and transmitting it over long distances. Hydrogen can be used in transport, energy, heating and industry.
Green hydrogen technology is one of the few alternatives to fossil fuels and as one of the few feasible solutions, it can deal with the problem of environmental degradation.
On 14 October 2021 in Warsaw, a hydrogen agreement was signed. The letter of intent understood as, as we read in the agreement: "...an expression of the will of public administration - government and local government, the environment of entrepreneurs and science and business environment units to undertake cooperation for the construction and development of a hydrogen economy in Poland."
"Hydrogen produced using low-emission technologies will play an important role in achieving climate neutrality, reducing the carbon intensity of the economy and increasing the competitiveness of Polish entrepreneurs. During the progressive process of building a hydrogen economy, there will be an increase in the importance, widespread use and reduction in the cost of hydrogen technologies."
What will be the importance of knowledge for building a hydrogen economy?
When a "new" sector of the economy is built it is necessary to prepare appropriate educational resources to enable the acquisition of knowledge for newly created professions, specialisations, competences. New specialists will not appear overnight. Their knowledge will not sprout on its own. It is necessary to create a system of transfer of specialist knowledge and to systematise it properly, together with a system of evaluation and certification. The aforementioned agreement goes on to say that specialised staff with knowledge in the field of hydrogen technology will enter the market around 2027, and in the meantime, from 2022, staff for the hydrogen economy will be developed. Market qualifications or model learning outcomes will be developed, standards for post-graduate programmes and further education courses will be established, new and modified fields of study will be created - all this for the future real vision of building the hydrogen economy. In 2025, regional education and information centres will be set up. All with the aim of disseminating hydrogen technologies and reducing the cost of producing green hydrogen, because, as all experts stress, 'hydrogen likes size'. We would not be able to achieve satisfactory results if activities were carried out on too small a scale.
Interest in hydrogen technology and fuel cells is growing, but there is still a lack of general awareness of hydrogen as an energy alternative. Comprehensive solutions are needed to educate hydrogen-related industry workers and the wider target audience about the long-term benefits and short-term realities of hydrogen, production methods and fuel cell systems and related infrastructure.
It is crucial to engage in educating the public, as well as target groups that play a key role in the development of the hydrogen economy - teachers and students, local and national government representatives, state safety and regulatory bodies, and potential commercial end-users - about hydrogen and fuel cell technologies and the wider hydrogen economy.