Second edition of ORLEN Hydrogen Academy concluded

The second edition of the ORLEN Hydrogen Academy has just been concluded, marking another milestone in the advancement of hydrogen technology education. This year’s programme encompassed over 100 hours of lectures, hands-on workshops, and laboratory sessions, engaging numerous experts and featuring multiple study visits to industry operators. It attracted a group of 30 university graduates from across Poland, each aspiring to deepen their expertise in advanced hydrogen technologies. Standout participants have been offered paid internships with ORLEN and the programme’s partners.

The Hydrogen Academy (H2 Academy) is an educational initiative tailored for students in their third, fourth or fifth year of study, as well as recent graduates. Its primary objective is to provide training opportunities to develop highly skilled professionals in innovative hydrogen technologies and their practical application.

“Zero and low-carbon hydrogen is a cornerstone of the energy transition. At ORLEN, we’re not just investing in hydrogen infrastructure, but we're mainly dedicated to nurturing the talent and skills needed to achieve these ambitious and innovative goals. Initiatives like the Hydrogen Academy and subsequent internships for top performers inspire students and graduates to hone their expertise in the field. Additionally, they help build public awareness around hydrogen as a safe and sustainable energy source,” says Wiesław Prugar, Member of the ORLEN Management Board, Upstream.

To complete the H2 Academy course, participants were required to develop their own projects revolving around hydrogen generation and commercial utilisation (in industry, transport or the energy sector), highlighting potential carbon reduction benefits. From this cohort, ten exceptional graduates have been selected for paid internships. Five of these placements will be with ORLEN, and the remaining ones with the programme’s partners (three at Solaris, one at Toyota and one at Pesa).

During the course, participants gained invaluable insights into the operations of industrial facilities across various sectors, spanning the production of low-carbon and renewable hydrogen, as well as solutions resulting from the use of hydrogen as a road transport fuel. The programme attended by 30 participants featured eight intensive sessions held in ten cities across Poland and Spain, including prestigious institutions such as the Kraków University of Technology and Gdańsk University of Technology, as well as industry companies like ORLEN in Włocławek, Solaris in Poznań, Pesa in Bydgoszcz, and Calvera in Zaragoza. The second edition lasted from February through June 2024.

The Hydrogen Academy is a flagship initiative under the Mazovian Hydrogen Valley project, spearheaded by the ORLEN Group and boasting a collaborative network of partners from the automotive and railway industries, including Toyota, Solaris, and PESA Bydgoszcz, along with the municipal transport company Komunikacja Miejska Płock and top technical universities: the Kraków University of Technology and Gdańsk University of Technology.

Training a skilled workforce in hydrogen technologies is integral to the ORLEN Group’s Hydrogen Strategy, which crystallises the Group’s response to challenges associated with the energy transition and quest for green solutions. As an alternative to conventional fuels, hydrogen is now a key element of the paradigm shift in the transport sector's decarbonisation narrative.

ORLEN’s plan is to build an international network of over 100 hydrogen refuelling stations spanning Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia to serve private, public, cargo, road and rail transport by 2030. Hydrogen will be delivered through a European chain of hydrogen hubs powered by renewable energy and innovative facilities converting municipal waste into zero- and low-carbon hydrogen. The ORLEN Group’s total electrolyser capacities are to reach about 1 GW by 2030, which, combined with the waste-to-hydrogen projects, will allow it to produce more than 130 thousand tonnes of renewable hydrogen annually by the end of this decade.