inFRONT: Inside Investment Frontiers of Sustainability Transitions


Green Hydrogen in the Global South Workshop: Opportunities and Challenges

On 12 December 2022, expert scholars and industry representatives from around the world gathered with interested public in Utrecht to discuss the potentially transformative effects of global large-scale green hydrogen investment.

Green hydrogen trade is increasingly presented as a solution to the current energy and climate crises globally: but what are the implications for hydrogen production areas in the Global South? Massive infrastructural developments with investments from the Global North are known to cause a wide range of social and environmental impacts, not just benefits. During the workshop and over dinner, critical social researchers, energy scientists and industry actors considered how they can fruitfully collaborate and imagine more green, globally just societies.

A view of Pecém Port in Ceará (Brazil), which aims to play a major role in the global hydrogen trade. Photo by Eric Cezne, October 2022

The workshop, organised by a team under auspices of Kei Otsuki (Utrecht University), first laid out the field of play in green hydrogen discourse, including case studies from South Africa & Brazil. Participants then dove deeper by discussing their own interdisciplinary experiences and approaches to the global hydrogen transition, with a particular focus on sustainable development perspectives and social impact assessments.

The following day, first steps were taken for the creation of a Critical H2 Research network, as well as a potential upcoming special issue that would meet rapidly rising interest in the opportunities and challenges of green hydrogen.

— See herefor the full workshop programme. —