H2 Academy - a bridge between the worlds of science and business


Participants in the debate 'Staff of the future based on H2 Academy', organised as part of the Central European Hydrogen Forum H2POLAND at the Poznań Congress Center, met to discuss the future of the hydrogen sector in Poland.

The discussion moderated by Jakub Wiech, editor-in-chief of the portal, included:

  • Grzegorz Jóźwiak, Director of the Office of Hydrogen Technologies and Synthetic Fuels, PKN ORLEN
  • Andrzej Szałek, Ph.D., Advisor to the Management Board, Toyota Central Europe
  • Beata Łuszczyńska, PhD, Faculty of Chemistry, Department of Molecular Physics, Technical University of Łódź
  • Karolina Molska, participant in the H2 Academy

The development of the hydrogen sector is a great opportunity whose success depends, among other things, on experts. We need experts who will be able to create and find applications for innovative hydrogen technologies. Without qualified personnel, it is difficult to talk about the development of this branch of the economy. The H2 Academy, set up by PKN ORLEN to act as an incubator of competences related to the hydrogen industry, is to be a response to this need. What, then, is the genesis of the Academy and what tasks is it to fulfil?

- We have prepared a hydrogen strategy at PKN ORLEN that envisages ambitious plans in both transport and industry - said Grzegorz Jóźwiak, Director of ORLEN's Hydrogen and Synthetic Fuels Technology Office. - The projects with a budget of 7.4 billion to be implemented by the end of this decade are largely low-carbon projects that require specialised knowledge and competence. We have realised that we need qualified human resources to execute these investment projects and handle them after implementation. We are counting on young people to help us in this area The energy transition has set off a global technology race. Those who think creatively, act quickly and have access to knowledge will count in this race.

The H2 Academy is an initiative implemented in public-private partnership, with companies such as Toyota and PESA and universities - the Technical University of Łódź, the Warsaw University of Technology, the Gdańsk University of Technology and the KEZO Research Centre of the Polish Academy of Sciences. 30 students from 14 universities were selected for the first edition of the ORLEN project.

What do classes at the H2 Academy look like?

The academy is based on two pillars - the theoretical one, for which the universities are responsible, and the practical one, which consists, among other things, in visits to the production facilities of the initiative's partners.

- We created the programme focusing on showing from the practical side what hydrogen technology looks like - said Grzegorz Jóźwiak. - As PKN ORLEN, we showed, among other things, electrolysers, which are used to produce hydrogen, while our partners from Toyota and PESA showed the use of hydrogen in transport.

- It is this practical aspect that is new in thinking about student education.We have the answers to many questions at our fingertips, and we have the opportunity to contact and exchange ideas with experts who work on hydrogen innovations on a daily basis - said Karolina Molska, a participant in the H2 Academy, during the debate.

The panellists taking part in the debate unanimously emphasised that while gaining knowledge, students also become a link between business and the world of science.

As Beata Łuszczyńska, Ph.D., representing the Łódź University of Technology, emphasised - The H2 Academy initiative is unique in that it results in the mobilisation of both communities, science and business, to the great benefit of the participants.

- Companies with a large number of patents and experience need unfettered thinking. A scientific outlook is also needed. There would be no hydrogen transport without this cooperation - pointed out Andrzej Szałek, Ph.D., Board Advisor, Toyota Central Europe.

The students of the H2 Academy represent very different fields of study - from biotechnology to international relations - which shows that all these fields are needed to create a thriving hydrogen sector. By combining their knowledge and experience, the project is likely to provide the necessary impetus for the development of hydrogen technology in Poland.