Hydrogen UK CEO, Clare Jackson, reflects on the trade body’s launch, ‘Jazzy Shirt Mondays’ and the need to move away from ‘silo-ism’ to hit industry targets.

What has been your career highlight thus far?

It has to be the launch of Hydrogen UK (HUK) in November last year. The culmination of several years’ work and a true reflection of what the industry has achieved and can achieve going forward. Six months after launching, HUK is the largest hydrogen trade association in the UK and we are continuing to work with the industry and government to develop and build whole hydrogen value chain.

What is your golden rule for overcoming challenges at work generally?

Always ask for help. There is nothing wrong with asking your colleagues for advice when you need it. At HUK we are lucky to be working with some of the leading hydrogen experts in the UK, there is always something to learn or another perspective to consider. And of course, stay positive, a smile goes a long way.

How would you describe your creative process in three words?

Collaborative, collaborative, collaborative. Real progress can be made quickly when working collaboratively together.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Always try and hire people smarter than you and then ask for their advice – see my golden rule.

Which piece of technology, or app, could you not function without?

Increasingly the core HUK secretariat team is located all around the country. We have a team of 15 people split mainly between London and Birmingham but also in Eastbourne and Chester. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without video conferencing. It has also given us the chance to instigate ‘Jazzy Shirt Mondays’ now a critical part of the any HUK secretariat weekly catch-up call. I’d highly recommend it.

What excites you most about the next 10 years in the utilities sector – any trends, tech or specific innovations?

Net Zero necessitates innovation. We have 30 years to build a hydrogen energy system to the size of our current power system. This cannot be achieved without collaboration and innovation. I’m really excited to see hydrogen go from strategy to delivery, from ideas on paper to world leading, record breaking projects. The UK is leading the way.

What do you think will be the defining factor in the UK hitting its net zero targets?

Domestic heat. This is the most challenging area to address as we will need many different technologies to hit net zero targets. More than ever, it is so important that we stop pitting one technology against another and support all pathway to win consumer confidence. The industry needs to engage with the consumer and deliver solutions which are easy and affordable, and quickly.

Which issues or opportunities within the industry don’t you feel get enough airtime?

We have a lot of “silo-ism”. Often electrification and hydrogen are pitted against each other rather than being viewed as complementary solutions. I’d like to see more coming together of technologies and industries to form multi-vector demonstrators and projects.

What is the most significant way you think the utilities sector of ten years’ time will differ from the one we see today?

It will be much more diverse in terms of the technologies that make up our current energy system. This is the only way we can meet the UK’s net zero targets, we need to collaborate, collaborate and collaborate more. Jazzy Shirt Mondays might help too!