Advancing Hydrogen: Convergence Research Presented at Hydrogen Summit 2023

Exploring Interdisciplinary Solutions and Geopolitical Considerations for a Sustainable Energy Future

During the World Hydrogen Summit 2023, Erasmus University’s Rector Magnificus, Prof. Dr. Annelien Bredenoord, took the stage to present research that shed light on the future of hydrogen. The two reports presented were notable collaborations between Erasmus University and Delft University of Technology, with support from the Resilient Delta Initiative. The distinguished audience, including Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice President of the European Commission, witnessed the convergence of academia and policymaking as Bredenoord highlighted the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration in tackling complex societal challenges.

The potential of ammonia
The domestic production of green hydrogen fails to meet the demand, highlighting the pressing need for international trade in ammonia as a hydrogen carrier to effectively bridge the supply-demand gap. The report “CommodipHy: Unlocking the Potential of Ammonia as a Hydrogen Carrier,” explores the three essential phases of ammonia commodification and identifies tipping points between them. The research underscores the potential of Rotterdam to become a global pricing center and international trading hub for ammonia, as a key enabler in achieving the European Commission’s REPowerEU proposal.

Bredenoord emphasized the report’s findings, the need for standardized contracts, certification, and financial instruments to facilitate the international trade of ammonia as a hydrogen carrier. She stated, “The imbalance between supply and demand must be eliminated through international trade, and Rotterdam’s optimal conditions make it the ideal location for a global price center.”

Convergence is not just an academic matter. Complex social problems demand integrated approaches, where fields of science converge. Collaboration between Erasmus University, TU Delft, and Erasmus MC is the obvious path forward.

Prof. Dr. Annelien Bredenoord

Erasmus University

Rector Magnificus


Geopolitical scenarios
The second research presented at the summit, titled “Hydrogen to be: Geopolitical Scenarios for Hydrogen Trade and Supply Chain Development,” looks at the geopolitical and societal dynamics influencing the development of hydrogen value chains. The report sheds light on the significant geo-strategic implications of green ammonia trade for Europe’s hydrogen supply.

Recognizing that the import of hydrogen into Europe hinges not only on technical and economic factors but also on geopolitical considerations, the report presents four distinct scenarios for low-carbon hydrogen trade into Rotterdam and surrounding port-industrial clusters.

The research addresses the pressing question of how to invest wisely in the role of hydrogen amidst the uncertainties of the energy transition. Bredenoord stressed the importance of understanding the impact of international power dynamics and trade cooperation in shaping the emergence of hydrogen trading networks. “Regardless of whatever future scenario for potential hydrogen trading materializes, there are already cross-scenario strategies that we can act on now.”

More than just an academic matter
In her address, Bredenoord emphasized the significance of these research findings and their potential contributions to advancing the European Green Deal. She remarked, “Convergence is not just an academic matter. Complex social problems demand integrated approaches, where fields of science converge. Collaboration between Erasmus University, TU Delft, and Erasmus MC is the obvious path forward.”

Like the Resilient Delta Initiative, the Hydrogen Summit served as a platform to bridge the gap between academic research and real-world policy implementation. By bringing experts from diverse fields of expertise together, an environment can be fostered where complex challenges can be tackled by drawing upon a wide range of perspectives. This emphasis on collaboration within academia plays a critical role, also in shaping sustainable energy systems.

In the insightful words of Rector Magnificus Annelien Bredenoord, “The hydrogen revolution necessitates a comprehensive approach that transcends disciplinary boundaries. By actively exploring interdisciplinary solutions and gaining a deep understanding of the geopolitical and societal aspects of hydrogen trade, we are empowered to chart a clear course towards a future that is both sustainable and secure in terms of energy.”

Read the full "CommodipHy" report

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Read the full "Hydrogen to be" report

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