École Polytechnique hosts EuroTech Winter School on hydrogen
Considered a technically viable and transportable energy vector, clean or low-carbon hydrogen may play an important role in achieving the objectives of the energy transition towards renewables. École Polytechnique’s PhD candidates Marie-Sophie Dias Fernandes, Catherine Harvey, and Sebastian Vallejo Jimenez placed the topic at the center of the EuroTech Winter School “Accelerating Hydrogen: Towards Sustainable Production, Storage, and Conversion Technologies” from October 9-13, 2023.
Offering a broad range of lectures, given by professors and experts from l’X and European partner institutions, as well as industry visits, the five-day seminar brought together more than 30 PhD students from the six European partner universities – l’X, Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Technical University of Munich (TUM), Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), and Technion - Israel Institute of Technology.
The opening day of the winter school focused on taking a close look at the hydrogen value chain and its geoeconomic and geopolitical context and implications. It also exposed the challenges of the quest for a viable and sustainable hydrogen value chain to limit and avoid hydrogen production through emission-intensive gasification or using fossil fuels.
The visit to the synchrotron facility SOLEIL, located in Saint-Aubin nearby École Polytechnique’s campus, was on the following day’s agenda. The synchrotron facility is run by a civil corporation held by the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA).
The program of the following days included several lectures on hydrogen production, namely the hydrogen production from water electrolysis - recalling the underlying scientific aspects, describing key technologies, and putting into perspective research and development efforts aimed at overcoming current constraints and limitations. Diving deeper into the topic, Professor Christodoulos Chatzichristodoulou, Senior Researcher at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), gave a lecture on LT Alka Electrolysis, complemented by professor Claude Lamy’s (ICGM - University of Montpellier) lecture on hydrogen production by proton exchange membrane water electrolysis.
The participants could also enrich their knowledge on the downstream of the hydrogen value chain, the conversion, and applications during the CO2 Conversion Seminar given by professor Olivier Guaitella, research Engineer in the Plasma Physics Laboratory (LPP) at École Polytechnique, as well as during the lecture of professor Alon Grinberg Dana, head of the Kinetics and Chemical Technology Lab of the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, on Predictive Chemical Kinetics: Methods and Applications, or professor Anke Hagen’s lecture on Solid Oxide Fuel Cells. Anke Hagen is professor at the Technical University Denmark (DTU).
In addition to the many expert lectures, the PhD students and candidates also had the opportunity to explore hydrogen production facilities during the organized industry visit at Elogen and Engie where proton exchange membrane electrolyzer stacks were displayed. The visit to Engie also provided the opportunity to learn about current research interests in the industry, and some of the present PhD candidates explained their research topics in this domain to their peers.