Fuel Cells and Green Hydrogen Centers of Vocational Excellence towards affordable, secure, and sustainable energy for Europe

Project Summary

Grant Number: ERASMUS-EDU-2022-PEX-COVE
Project Number: 101104447
Project Period: 15.06.2023 – 14.06.2027

The demand for green hydrogen (H2) and related technologies will skyrocket in the coming years due to several reasons, including the European and global energy crises and European Union (EU)’s REpowerEU Plan which are pushing the markets for free energy transformation in Europe. The EU has the ambition to scale up green hydrogen projects and invest a cumulative amount of 470 billion euros by 2050. The EU’s ambitious targets set for 2030 include the production of 10 million tonnes of domestic renewable hydrogen and an additional 10 million tonnes imported hydrogen ultimately aimed at replacing fossil fuels in sectors that are particularly challenging to decarbonize. In response to EU’s targets, several European countries have already adopted a clear hydrogen strategy at the national level to become energy independent and reduce emissions from the energy sector. This will bring about large-scale adoption of hydrogen production and applications in various sectors. This will simultaneously create the need for a skilled workforce in the job market, the development of more and more educational and training programmes for students and engineers and the re-skilling of existing energy sector employees. At the moment, there is a limited specialized workforce in the sector.

The H2Excellence project will establish the H2Excellence Platform of Vocational Excellence in the field of fuel cells and green hydrogen technologies which will create and implement lifelong learning opportunities including online learning platform and develop national and international curricula and training programmes. The project will establish several local clusters, i.e., Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVEs), fully integrated into the innovation, skills, and job ecosystem in green hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in six Erasmus+ countries (Italy, Spain, Finland, Portugal, Poland, and France) and two support/associated CoVEs in the other two Erasmus+ countries (France and Poland). The project will continuously expand networks both domestically and internationally throughout the several European regions and countries in order for people to exchange knowledge and profit from one another. The project will also be internationalized in North America via cooperation and partnership for VET opportunities and exchange programmes between the EU and Canada.

H2Excellence will create world-class reference points for training in green hydrogen technologies for both initial training of young people, engineers as well as for up-skilling and reskilling of adults, through flexible and timely offer of training for the skills needs of companies in the green hydrogen sector. The VET clusters will undertake activities such as developing transnational, joint curricula, and lifelong trainings; interaction with universities to understand the current state-of-the-art technologies; exchange of VET teachers, students, and staff; partnerships between companies and professionals; regional ecosystems mapping and integration within the national/regional economic and innovation ecosystems. H2Excellence brings together 24 partners from 9 different Erasmus+ EU countries (+1 international partner). Fully in line with the EU Green Deal goals and energy transition targets, the project intends to create the infrastructure necessary to embed vocational excellence in the European hydrogen sector, as well as to contribute to transforming the sector towards quality employment and careerlong opportunities.

Impact of project results:

  • Produce a competent workforce for the hydrogen industry, with skills and competence aligned with the market needs
  • Develop and provide training of staff, students, and training of company staff (up-skilling and reskilling)
  • Spread and replicate project results in other regions in order for other education providers to provide training of staff, students and training of company staff for working life
  • Get the result of VET rolled out on a national level and part of the national/regional curricula
  • Strengthen further international cooperation and mobility of staff, students but also for green hydrogen experts and workers
  • Foster international support to companies (SMEs) operating in green hydrogen through technical support, training, reskilling and upskilling employees
  • Foster common activities and collaboration between different green hydrogen supply chain partners, including research and innovation support hub

The main objectives:

  • To create Centre of Vocational Excellences (CoVEs) dedicated to fuel cells and green hydrogen technologies, founding a collaborative network to bridge industry skill gaps
  • To design, pilot, and implement several trainings for students at different levels at vocational education training (VET) institutes.
  • To offer teacher upskilling programmes and training and technical support initiatives for Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across CoVEs in green hydrogen technologies, addressing technical, training, and reskilling topics
  • To establish world-class reference points for training in green hydrogen technologies for young people, engineers, and adults
  • To establish a solid collaborative education-business-research network
  • To develop an international collaborative online platform/Knowledge hub for knowledge sharing about green hydrogen technologies
  • To promote and raise awareness of the use of hydrogen in different industrial sectors, mobility, and urban environments
  • To promote internationalization of vocational training and education in the field of hydrogen