16 June 2023
The West of England Institute of Technology had the pleasure of exhibiting at the Hydrogen Gateway Conference at the ICC in Newport on the 9th of June, 2023. The 500-person conference was hosted by Western Gateway, who foster collaboration across the West and South Wales to enhance net-zero, innovation, investment and connectivity.
The conference focus was the transition to the hydrogen economy. Conference speakers, which included politicians, academics and those from industry, battled with the problems associated with building an infrastructure to produce, store, import and disseminate the hydrogen, the advancement of the technology to use the hydrogen as an energy source and, of course, the need to upskill the existing workforce.
Exciting projects were showcased including hydrogen powered cars, hydrogen cells, Airbus’ ZEROe aircraft and the development of storage and manufacturing plants in Milford Haven. These project offer the opportunity to zero emission energy source.
Speakers included the Andy Reynolds, from WEIoT anchor partner Airbus, Chair of Hydrogen Southwest Simon Earles, Julie James MS, Chris Skidmore MP, Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance Lord Callanan, Chris Steel from Hydrogen South West Skills Consortium and Professor Paul Monks, the Chief Scientific Advisor for DESNZ. Together, the conference provided a thrilling insight into the hydrogen future and underlined the need to upskill and train the workforce in preparation.
The work of the WEIoT was referenced several times during the main plenary sessions and, unsurprisingly, the skills breakout session. The WEIoT have spearheaded the establishment of hydrogen-based skills in the SW through its Hydrogen Awareness and Safety bootcamps delivered by Weston College. Such skills will play a vital role if the transition to hydrogen is to be successful and even more so if the region wishes to leverage its manufacturing and engineering excellence and play a pioneering role in the development of hydrogen as an energy source in homes, industry and transport.
The WEIoT looks forward to continue working with other hydrogen stakeholders in the future.