H2MAT takes part in the first Basque Hydrogen Research Day along with more than 150 attendees, and underscores the Basque Country’s commitment to being a leader in developing hydrogen technologies

Feb 1, 2023 | Activities

The conference was organised by the Energy Cluster and acted as a meeting point for R&D managers from companies and researchers from technology centres and universities, where they were able to exchange opinions on the sector’s main technological needs and challenges for the coming years.

On January 27, the Energy Cluster held the first Basque Hydrogen Research Day (BH2RD) at Bizkaia Aretoa, bringing together different agents from the Basque Science, Technology and Innovation Network (RVCTI) and representatives from the hydrogen business network. Four research projects supported by the Basque Government within the framework of the ELKARTEK programme, among them H2MAT, played a particularly important role at the conference.

Alberto Fernandez, the Basque Government’s Director of Technology and Innovation, opened the conference by highlighting the support that has been given to more than 70 hydrogen-related projects through various aid programmes by the Department of Economic Development, Sustainability and the Environment, including 7 strategic projects that have received subsidies of more than 6M€.

The international guest speaker was Pere Margalef, CTO responsible for hydrogen at SNAM, the Italian company responsible for transporting and storing gas, and one of the leading entities in the field of hydrogen in the last decade. In his presentation, he reviewed some of the transalpine company’s main initiatives in this field and its strategy for the coming years, highlighting the HyAccelerator programme, an international programme for open innovation in H2 technologies.

Marcos Suarez from the Basque Energy Cluster then made a brief presentation on EnergiBasque, the Basque Country’s technological and industrial development strategy for the energy sector, which has incorporated the field of hydrogen since 2020, including a roadmap identifying the priority technological lines for the Basque sector in the short and medium term.

The first part of the session, which was open to all participants, ended with two presentations summarising the latest developments in two of the main initiatives in this field in the Basque Country. Elías Unzueta from Petronor Innovación described the latest activities carried out in the Basque Hydrogen Corridor, recently selected as European H2 Valley of the Year 2022 by the Clean Hydrogen Partnership, Europe’s foremost association. To conclude, Nora Castañeda, from Sener, made a presentation on their initiative aimed at developing and producing electrolysers, which was recognised by the European Union as an IPCEI project (Important Projects of Common European Interest) and recently obtained 10 million euros in funding from MITECO as part of the Hy2Tec programme.

After a coffee break, the participants were divided into four working groups focusing on different topics:

  • Transportation, Distribution and Storage
  • Generation and Use of H2: Industrial Sector
  • Generation and Use of H2: Mobility
  • Generation and Use of H2: Refining

In this second part, within the working group focused on transportation, distribution and storage, Gorka Plata from Mondragón University explained the progress made by H2MAT. Participants were then able to share their impressions on the project’s main technological challenges, such as the injection of blending into the current natural gas distribution network or the specifications that components in contact with hydrogen must meet. This debate served as a link between the needs identified by the companies and the research carried out by the R&D agents. The second session ended with an update and prioritisation of the technological lines identified in the EnergiBasque strategy.

With a capacity audience, this first edition made it possible to show the strong involvement of the Basque Country in the technological development of hydrogen, and it is hoped that the initiative will be continued in the coming years.