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2022 Enrico Fermi Lecture: Hydrogen has a Crucial Role in Reshaping Energy Production

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The renowned Italian scientist Dr Nicola Armaroli delivers the lecture entitled "Hydrogen Dilemma"


The salient role of molecular hydrogen as an energy vector in reshaping energy production and its revival after decades of technical and economic hurdles was tackled on Wednesday, 26th of October 2022, in a lecture by renowned Italian research scientist Dr Nicola Armaroli. The lecture was jointly organised by The Cyprus Institute (CyI) and the Italian Embassy in Nicosia for the 6th consecutive year, as part of the Enrico Fermi Lecture series.

The lecture entitled “The Hydrogen Dilemma” was addressed by H.E Federica Bravo, Ambassador of Italy in Cyprus. The event was introduced by Dr Fabio Maria Montagnino, Head of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at The Cyprus Institute, who highlighted the fruitful and long-term cooperation with the Italian Embassy. 
 
In his lecture, Dr Armaroli focused on the new reality of researchers, companies and governments putting the emphasis on the only option leading to zero CO2 emissions, namely green hydrogen, which is produced from splitting freshwater into hydrogen and oxygen by means of electrolyzers powered by renewable electricity.
 
“Green hydrogen is projected to become market-competitive in about a decade, but even under this scenario, it poses a dilemma for the future of the energy system, as it requires large surpluses of renewable electricity, which will hardly happen before 2030”, Dr Armaroli stated. “Using electricity to make hydrogen and then use it for powering cars or heating buildings is in stark contrast with the demanding target of increasing energy efficiency, which might be achieved by more mature and efficient direct electric technologies, such as battery vehicles and heat pumps”, he added.
 
The speaker emphasised that while research on hydrogen and deployment of renewables must continue, time has come for political decisions on priorities for the next decade. “A clear choice must be made between betting on direct electrification or on hydrogen production”, he concluded.
 
The “Enrico Fermi Lectures” are a series of talks co-organised by The Cyprus Institute and the Embassy of Italy in Nicosia with the aim of bringing to Cyprus leading Italian scientists to speak about cutting-edge scientific developments, thus contributing to the scientific and technological cooperation between Italy and Cyprus - a testimony to the long historical and cultural ties between the two countries.
 
Dr Nicola Armaroli is a Research Director at the National Research Council (CNR) in Italy, and a Member of the Italian National Academy of Sciences. His research concerns the photochemistry and photophysics of molecules and materials for solar energy conversion and the study of the energy transition to more sustainable models and technologies, also in relation to resource scarcity and climate change. He has published over 250 scientific papers and 10 books. He serves as consultant on energy and resources for international institutions and the Italian government and has given tens of invited lectures worldwide. He has received national and international awards including the Enzo Tiezzi Gold Medal of the Italian Chemical Society. He is committed to advise people that science and technology alone cannot warrant us a sustainable future.
 
Since 2017, this Series of prestigious talks has brought to Cypriot audiences the work of eminent Italian scientists, such as Prof. Massimo Inguscio (President of CNR), Prof. Ettore Fiorini (Emeritus Professor at the University di Milano-Bicocca and National Member of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei), Prof. Antonio Sgamellotti (Università di Perugia, Accademia dei Lincei), and Prof. Federico M. Butera (Professor Emeritus at Politecnico di Milano), and last year Prof. Piero Formica, a Senior Research Fellow at the Innovation Value Institute in the Maynooth University in Ireland, and Professor and Mentor in the Contamination Lab of the University of Padua in Italy The Cyprus Institute counts over 200 collaborations and partnerships with prominent Italian research Institutions and is home to a large community of Italian researchers and students, contributing to its diverse fields of activity.