Solar Hydrogen Community Development Framework

Key information:

  1. Abstract of 800 words. The full paper will be 3500-4000 words using the template file provided on acceptance.
  2. The following paper categories are welcome:
    • empirical qualitative and/or quantitative study
    • technical experiment
    • conceptual, position paper

Please note: abstracts that describe planned work have little chance to get accepted.

List of Topics

  • Entrepreneurship and Open, Diverse Cultures – including commons-based peer-production, social entrepreneurship, alternative and non capitalist enterprise
  • Ecological Transition and Sustainability Transformation – including local economies, climate change adaptation, urban resilience, just transitions
  • Inclusive Technology, Artificial Intelligence and Innovation – including eco-innovation, grassroots innovation, anti-colonial science, decentralized Internet, AI for good
  • Inclusive Education and Life Long Learning – including project-based learning, postcolonial education, postcapitalist learning spaces, critical pedagogy
  • Life Science and other New Frontiers – including biohacking for good, material innovation, citizen science, sociomateriality, design for ethics
  • Woman Makers – for any specifically woman makers related contributions not covered under one of the above topics

Mandatory Structure of Abstracts

  1. Purpose of the paper – What are the reason(s) for writing the paper or the aims of the research?
  2. Design/methodology/approach – How are the objectives achieved? Include the main method(s) used for the research. What is the approach to the topic and what is the theoretical or subject scope of the paper?
  3. Data/sample – What data has been collected (if any) and how?
  4. Findings – What was found in the course of the work? This will refer to analysis, discussion, or results.
  5. Research limitations/implications – If research is reported on in the paper this section must be completed and should include suggestions for future research and any identified limitations in the research process.
  6. Practical implications – What outcomes and implications for practice, applications and consequences are identified? Not all papers will have practical implications but most will. What changes to practice should be made as a result of this research/paper?
  7. Original value of paper – What is new in the paper? State the value of the paper and to whom.


  • Deadline for submission of abstracts mid May with a turnaround of reviews in the first week of June.
  • Fast Track abstracts deadline: 21 April (reviews guaranteed before 30 April).
  • Deadline for the submission of full papers mid July.


Program Committee

  • Cindy Kohtala, chair
  • Peter Troxler, chair
  • others tba.

Organizing committee

  • tba.


All questions about submissions should be emailed to fab23 <at> easychair <dot> org.


Purpose of the paper

Developing green hydrogen low-cost research framework for production, storage and transport aimed at Bhutan.

“The power sector is the largest source of the government revenue and the premier contributor to the country’s gross domestic product. […] Power generation in Bhutan relies almost exclusively on hydropower. The total installed capacity of existing hydropower plants is 1,488 megawatts (MW). Since all of the existing plants are run-of-the-river types, the total generation drastically drops to about 300 MW during the winter dry season (December–March) due to low water levels. This falls short of meeting peak system demand during winter dry seasons. To deal with the seasonal power shortage, Bhutan has curtailed industrial loads during the winter months. Power has been imported from India, especially in the winter, but this will become increasingly difficult to arrange because India has its own power shortage during these months.”

The hypothesis is that investing in large amounts of chemical batteries is expensive, unpractical, and hard to scale, while developing flexible hydrogen tanks from local materials and becoming a major exporter of green hydrogen would provide Bhutan:

  1. the ability to store energy to operate its own industry in the dry season
  2. Improve Bhutan capacity to control energy export price over time
  3. Diversify Bhutan clients with attractive green hydrogen in the region and beyond

Design / methodology / approach 

Based on previous work that won the Bali FabFest “Special Mention Award” of production of floating solar hydrogen in the maritime environment (Bali, Indonesia), this research is about setting up an experimental system of hydrogen R&D (research and development), storage and transport that can work equally well in a mountainous environment (Thimphu, Bhutan).

Instead of a sequential series of experiments done in a controlled lab environment with a small number of highly skilled researchers, the design of this experiment is parallel, in the field, and the R&D effort is done with an heterogenous group with a collaborative innovation approach. Instead of being focused only on the science and engineering, we are considering more factors such as scenarios of usages in complex social and cultural context, as well as the availability of local materials, cost of build and maintenance. While the research and prototyping is done outside of Bhutan (in Indonesia and Singapore), the research is aimed at Bhutan, using the 2007 study “Feasibility of renewable energy storage using hydrogen in remote communities in Bhutan” by David C. Young, Greig A. Mill, Rob Wall. Source:

Data / sample

  • Oct 2022: experiment 1. Floating Solar Hydrogen workshop at the FabFest City Island Challenge, Bali, Indonesia. In this workshop we focused on the usage scenarios.
  • June 2023: experiment 2. Floating Solar Hydrogen workshop at the Singapore ArtScience Museum. In this workshop we focused on the educational and research infrastructure design and methodology to develop maritime solar hydrogen.
  • Aug 2023: experiment 3. Green Hydrogen R&D production, storage and transport with low cost flexible tanks in Thimphu, Bhutan. In this workshop we focus on the low-cost envelopes to store and transport hydrogen safely, and at low cost.


In our experiments, we find that:

  1. Low pressure hydrogen is relatively easy and safe to prototype for the key components or substitute being accessible.
  2. There is a very strong interest from the public at large to learn and participate in the development of green energy. Also a very strong interest from academic, corporate, investor and government to evaluate how such energy would serve their constituencies.
  3. Hands-on parallel experimenting, documenting and sharing is an effective approach to develop early-stage designs, prototypes, and test use cases, that are necessary to develop the industry adoption.
  4. Having an inclusive and open-science approach is leading us to develop technologies solutions that are low cost, lost risk, and possibly scalable faster.

Research limitations / implications

  1. Sample size. The education and R&D system developed is suitable to run 10 parallel experiments, for a maximum of 40 researchers simultaneously. We believe that there is a “sweet spot” in terms of numbers of parallel experiments that maximise the individual and collective rate of learning and to produce conclusive and industrially-useful results.
  2. Replication the experiment. Bhutan has a very unique energy market: a very mountainous, relatively low-resource country that is a large clean energy exporter. Bhutan is unique for many other reasons in terms of culture, relationship to nature and how GDP is not the main success indicator - but rather GNH (Gross National Happiness). All these unique traits make it hard to replicate Bhutan design and materials somewhere else.

Practical implications

The practical application of this research is the development of low cost hydrogen R&D, production, storage and transport, with a focus on the gas envelopes using local materials.

Original value of paper

Beyond the specific technology, this research proposes an R&D model that accelerates technology development by using radically collaborative research by prototype, frequent testing and ongoing documentation, that can be implemented in a FabLab community environment.

Not only this approach allows to make progress on the design and engineering of solutions, it also helps identify resources and talents to grow new industries that can be strategic for national development and resilience.