Spotlight on HI-ACT at the HEA conference

By Dr Nabila Rufa’I

HI-ACT, in collaboration with UK-HyRES, were Co-Gold sponsors for the Hydrogen Energy Association (HEA) Annual Conference in London on Thursday, 23rd May 2024, at the QEII Centre in Westminster. With a strong focus on taking proactive and concrete steps towards driving growth in UK’s hydrogen landscape, the central theme of the conference was “Acting on Ambition’’. Hosting over 500 attendees, including leaders in both industry and academia, the conference spanned critical topics related to the acceleration of the hydrogen sector including the latest trends in electrolyser technologies, market analysis and risks to the hydrogen supply chain. In addition to the presence of HI-ACT’s Principal Investigator, Professor Sara Walker, and UK-HyRES Director, Professor Tim Mayes, the occasion was further graced by the presence of Professor Goran Strbac of Imperial College London. In attendance was also HI-ACT’s Researcher, Dr Nabila Rufa’I of the University of Birmingham. The informative sessions of the conference were complemented by several networking opportunities, which enabled additional discussions and collaborations among participants.


The critical role of research hubs in driving innovation in the UK hydrogen industry was discussed by Professor Sara Walker in the ‘’Accelerating Action’’ panel session. In her presentation related to the structure and themes of HI-ACT, Professor Sara Walker discussed about the central mission of HI-ACT- which is to deliver impactful research to accelerate towards a net zero future. She further reiterated that our research is aimed at providing evidence-base for investment and policy making in hydrogen within the UK.

The morning saw a great conversation with Colm Murphy, talking about the development of the National Energy System Operator. He stressed the importance of whole energy systems thinking, when considering the role of hydrogen. Several informative presentations were also given, notably Jenny Kavanagh of Cranfield Aerospace Solutions, whose presentation was related to the energy demand for liquefaction of hydrogen for the aviation sector. Research from Aurora Energy presented by Emma Woodward revealed planned electrolyser production scale exceeds planned projects. Overall, the entire conference provided some valuable insights on the latest developments related to hydrogen in the UK and globally, as well as some of the major challenges that need to be overcome in order to enable hydrogen make the most contribution towards net zero.