Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
Wubbo Ockels School for Energy and Climate News

Aravind Purushothaman Vellayani new director Hydrogen Economy

13 March 2024
Prof. Aravind Purushothaman Vellayani

Aravind Purushothaman Vellayani, professor and chair of Energy Conversion at the University of Groningen, has been appointed director for hydrogen economy at the Wubbo Ockels School for Energy and Climate from February. As director, he wants to focus above all on interfaculty and interdisciplinary cooperation.

Purushothaman Vellayani is an expert on hydrogen, fuel cell systems and thermodynamics of energy conversion. He already worked in close cooperation with the Wubbo Ockels School, including as a member of the steering committee. In his new role as director for hydrogen economy, Vellayani's primary objectives revolve around fostering interfaculty collaboration. ‘Hydrogen is an important topic for the region. The university supports this by providing knowledge.’

Different perspectives

The significance of interdisciplinarity is emphasized by the new director, highlighting that in Groningen, hydrogen is approached from a societal perspective rather than solely a technical or academic matter. ‘We have an energy economy in the North. Successfully replacing natural gas with hydrogen presents a significant opportunity. We should look at the transformation from different perspectives, involving multiple faculties and areas of expertise to support informed decision-making for our society. This underscores the necessity of interfaculty collaboration.’

Additionally, Purushothaman Vellayani seeks to enhance regional coordination, particularly in furthering the university's involvement in the Hydrogen Valley Campus Europe, a knowledge hub for hydrogen-related activities in the northern Netherlands. Lastly, he emphasizes the global connectivity of the university with other knowledge institutes engaged in hydrogen research and activities ‘so that we can share knowledge and learn from each other’.

Human capital

Purushothaman Vellayani's vision for the Hydrogen Valley Campus Europe encompasses four pillars: research, human capital, shared facilities and valorization. ‘We were quite successful in laying the foundations, with an emphasis from the university on human capital’, says the professor. These include partnerships in projects such as the European Hydrogen Academy and Green SkyHy an Interreg project, both focusing on hydrogen teaching. Furthermore, the University of Cyprus and the University of Groningen are collaborating in the PHAETHON consortium. Within this consortium, focusing on energy transition, green hydrogen technologies are being developed, all the while working also on societal issues to be addressed in order to support energy transition.

The professor also points to regional initiatives, such as the ‘JTF H2 Train & Learn Hub’, aiming to train both students and professionals for the energy and resource transition. Through this project, knowledge institutions from MBO (secondary vocational education), HBO (universities of applied sciences) to university are connected to work together to develop continuous learning pathways for the region. Also, a VR hydrogen lab has been successfully initiated, and collaboration with Hanze University of Applied Sciences is underway for the development of the Hydrohub MegaWatt Test Centre, a research facility dedicated to green hydrogen.


Looking ahead, Purushothaman Vellayani hopes to foster interactions with stakeholders from the public and private sectors. ‘We've previously held joint meetings with industry, but I would like to schedule them regularly. These meetings should be complemented by the university's interfaculty gatherings. Our goal is to develop shared plans and strategies.’ His own involvement in numerous consortia and expertise centers further amplifies the reach and impact of his research. ‘Collaboration will hopefully lead to full fetched laboratory facilities, for teaching and research. Also, societal involvement will help to establish technology in a social acceptable way.’

Last modified:13 March 2024 2.05 p.m.
View this page in: Nederlands

More news

  • 10 June 2024

    Swarming around a skyscraper

    Every two weeks, UG Makers puts the spotlight on a researcher who has created something tangible, ranging from homemade measuring equipment for academic research to small or larger products that can change our daily lives. That is how UG...

  • 24 May 2024

    Lustrum 410 in pictures

    Lustrum 410 in pictures: A photo report of the lustrum 2024

  • 21 May 2024

    Results of 2024 University elections

    The votes have been counted and the results of the University elections are in!