Hydrogen Learning Network - International Community Energy Challenge

Hydrogen Learning Network

International Community Energy Challenge

May 13-22, 2019 – Faroe Islands

What brings together students from Canada, Iceland, The Faroe Islands, Norway and Scotland?

Sustainable energy.

With support from NORA, 4-6 students from five universities came together in the Faroes to work on real-world energy challenges put forward by businesses and local organisations. The universities were the University of Prince Edward Island, University of Iceland, University of the Faroe Islands, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, and Heriot Watt University (Orkney).

Bakkafrost, Strandfaraskip Landsins, KJ Hydraulik and Tórshavn Municipality proposed the challenges to the students, for example: powering the nation’s fish farms using solar and wind instead of fossil fuels, and feasibility studies comparing a diesel/electric hybrid with a fully hydrogen ferry.

These are complex problems which require expertise from across all disciplines. This is reflected by the variety of the backgrounds of the students - from early in their first Batchelor’s degree, to PhD students, their expertise covered many areas including: biology, sustainable design engineering, power engineering, business. Group excursions into the spectacular Faroe landscape and historic cultural sites were a welcome break from their intense project work.

As the students got to know each other, it became clear that it wasn’t just the energy challenge that brought them together. The region shares a cultural heritage dating back to the Vikings in the 800s. Similarities in traditions, language, and lifestyle shone through. Looking forward, this joint cultural heritage has the opportunity to bring the isolated communities together. Currently at the end of long fossil fuel supply chains and being a long way from decision makers in government, a growing unease is felt about energy security, and whether the solutions built by those in power will be what is best for the local communities.

#Electrofuels are the solution put forward by the students. Making use of wind, solar, hydrogen and electric power, the economically competitive proposals massively reduce emissions, helping the Faroes to achieve their targeted zero emissions on land by 2030. Furthermore, local energy production eliminates the long fossil fuel supply chains and keeps expertise and jobs local.

This was the first Energy Challenge to be organised by the Hydrogen Learning Network and it is was a resounding success. The students highly valued the unique experience, and businesses and local partners got an idea of what can be done today to solve tomorrow’s energy challenges. The Energy Challenge and the Hydrogen Learning Network are bringing together voices from across the North Atlantic, showing communities what is possible when you link together all the elements of electrofuels. The ball is already rolling for next year’s Energy Challenge, new students and local partners will join this rapidly growing network, expanding the discussion to involve more and more people. System wide change is only possible if the whole system sits up and takes note.

With great thanks to the support from NORA, and the many individuals involved, without whom this event wouldn’t have been a success. The next meeting for the Hydrogen Learning Network will take place in Florø, Norway on the 18/19th September 2019, alongside the International Conference - Maritime Hydrogen and Marine Energy.

2019 05 Færøy.JPG
Maria Brandsøy