North West Hydrogen Alliance (NWHA) Chair Professor Joe Howe reflects on the success of the UK’s first ever Hydrogen Week
Now a month has passed since the UK’s first Hydrogen Week, I’ve had the chance to catch my breath and reflect on all the events, activity and hard work that made the week such a success.
When we first had the idea of creating a Hydrogen Week we didn’t know whether the rest of the nation would get behind it, but it was wonderful to see how it reached right across the UK. It was truly national in every aspect – with over 6,300 people taking part from Aberdeen to Bristol, Sheffield to London and Stoke to Northern Ireland. And it was great to work with so many communities and organisations of all shapes and sizes, ranging from local authorities to schools and universities, as well as big businesses and SMEs.
We had everything from podcasts and blogs to workshops, roundtables and virtual tours. The North West’s showcase event ‘Delivering the Hydrogen Economy’ in Liverpool – featuring a keynote speech from Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram – was a real highlight, providing a great platform to showcase the progress being made in the region on hydrogen delivery.
Hydrogen Week is all about raising the profile of hydrogen and educating people on how it can help us reach net zero. And as Professor at the University of Chester I was particularly happy to see how many education activities happened during the week. The NWHA and HyNet North West sponsored Mad Science to visit local schools for hands-on hydrogen learning and experiments; children got to play the interactive Net Zero game at the Catalyst Science and Discovery Centre in Widnes which we helped develop; and Riverside College in the Liverpool City Region had a week full of hydrogen related activity including a competition and virtual reality workshop. And that’s just to name a few!
With nearly 80,000 social media views and wide-ranging media coverage across local regional and national outlets reaching 4 million people we certainly succeeded in our aim of raising awareness of hydrogen across the nation.
I’d like to say a big thank you to our Hydrogen Week sponsors – SSE Thermal and Northern Valve & Fitting Company Limited – and to our 110 supporters. Without them we couldn’t have made this happen. It’s their hard work that went into organising events and school visits, spreading the word, making STEM learning fun for our young people and shining a light on the vital role hydrogen can play in reaching our clean energy ambitions.
We now need to build on the momentum of Hydrogen Week, working together and collaborating across government, industry and the public to make the UK a world leader in low carbon hydrogen. 2023 is going to be a huge year for everyone committed to delivering a hydrogen economy and a net zero future and one clear message from Hydrogen Week was the need for an Energy Bill to provide policy certainty and confidence for industry and investors.
Onwards and upwards – we have a lot of work to do, and I’m already looking forward to a bigger, better and brighter Hydrogen Week in 2024!
If you’re interested in getting involved in Hydrogen Week 2024 get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org