Out-of-the-box Australian selected to be one of eight in World Hydrogen Advisory Board


This morning, the London-based Sustainable Energy Council announced the eight founding members of its World Hydrogen Advisory Board which will act as the “guiding force” behind the upcoming World Hydrogen Series of Events. The only Australian selected for the prestigious role was Andrew Horvath, a man who could only be described as an ‘out of the box’ thinker.

His company, Star Scientific, which is headquartered in the central coast of New South Wales, was recently propelled into the global limelight after it launched its patented Hydrogen Energy Release Optimiser (HERO) technology. Discovered accidentally, the technology is driven by a catalyst reaction which, upon contact with hydrogen and oxygen, goes from zero to over 700 degrees Celsius in three minutes. The promise of the technology, which is applied in the form of a coating substance, is that it’s hydrogen demand activator. It makes the ‘future fuel’ easy and efficient to use as a heat source in existing spinning mass turbine systems.

In March, the technology won the Sustainable Energy Council’s World Hydrogen Award for Industrial Application. This award, Horvath believes, started up the conversations which ultimately led to his position on the newly formed board.

“They [Sustainable Energy Council] looked into what we were saying as part of the award. So the award not only focussed on the technology, it also focussed on the business plan and what the CEO was saying. They listened to that and then they gave me a call afterwards,” Horvath said, to ask him if he’d be interested in being part of the board.

While the HERO technology and award might have started the conversation, Horvath’s vision isn’t just limited to optimising hydrogen’s energy release at the molecular level – his ideas stretch right into global energy systems. He isn’t really thinking about how to fit clean energy into fossil fuel’s structures (though reusing infrastructure is a big part of HERO’s promise), Horvath is convinced future energy systems will look different, “cleverer” than those we use today.

“Of course it’s exciting,” Horvath said about his appointment to the board, pointing to the esteemed leaders he’s serving alongside, which include the Secretary General at Hydrogen Europe, Jorgo Chatzimarkakis; President and CEO of Port of Rotterdam Authority, Allard Castelein; and Vice President of Hydrogen at Royal Dutch Shell, Paul Bogers; Chile’s Ministry of Energy department head, Max Correa Achurra; Chair at the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells (IPHE) and Hydrogen Advisor at the International Energy Agency (IEA), Noé van Hulst; CEO and Executive Chairman at Smartenergy, Horst H. Mahmoudi; and Linde’s Vice-President of Clean Energy, David Burns.

The advisory board’s role will be to give focus to the World Hydrogen Event Series, ensuring key industry challenges and opportunities are addressed and “enabling participants to take relevant, informed decisions which will drive further collaboration and accelerate the hydrogen industry roll-out world-wide,” the Sustainable Energy Council said in its statement.

“What we need now, is the appropriate regulatory framework to scale-up clean hydrogen rapidly and de-risk the huge private investment required. We also need smart policies that aim at creating integrated markets and facilitate the entire value chain across borders, including infrastructure and storage,” founding member, Noé van Hulst, said in his statement.

Horvath told pv magazine Australia the first World Hydrogen Advisory board meeting is planned for September and will be virtual. “Then the next one I think is in Rotterdam, held by the port there, next year sometime,” he added.

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