Schipstra joins the firm from the multinational utility company ENGIE, where she held the role of Senior Vice-President of Hydrogen Business Development, overseeing large-scale hydrogen projects in the Netherlands, including the 1.85GW HyNetherlands green hydrogen value chain.

First Hydrogen has said, Schipstra is set to assist the company to establish sustainable green hydrogen production sites and deliver the company’s refuelling solutions, contributing to First Hydrogen’s ambitions to guarantee a supply of green hydrogen for its customers.

She is also Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Audit & Risk Committee at HydrogenOne Capital Growth. As an active member of Women in Hydrogen, and a founding member of VIEN, Schipstra is active in encouraging more women into the industry and bridging the diversity gap.

Afkenel Schipstra, Chief Operational Office at First Hydrogen Energy, said, “Profound shifts are underway in the global energy system. Governments, industries and consumers are shaping a Net Zero economy, with clean hydrogen set to play a vital role as a feedstock, an energy carrier and a fuel.

“This is a unique opportunity to be part of a forward-thinking and game-changing company with a truly talented international team fully committed to developing a more sustainable future. In growing this emerging economy, we will also be able to encourages more people to find rewarding careers in this fast-moving sector.

“I am excited and privileged to start this new journey and work across the value chain to help First Hydrogen build the path toward a zero emission future.”

First Hydrogen announced in May 2022 it was set to begin operation testing of its first hydrogen powered light commercial vehicle, equipped with Ballard Power Systems’ fuel cells.

Read more: Testing to begin on First Hydrogen’s fuel cell van

Nick Wrigley, Chairman at First Hydrogen, commented, “Afkenel brings both passion and a wealth of expertise in managing and financing hydrogen projects to the team.

“She joins us at an exciting point in our development of hydrogen infrastructure; planning is underway for our first green hydrogen production sites in the UK, and we are working with FEV Consulting to develop our refuelling technology.

“By leading this work, she will build our Hydrogen-as-a-Solution model, which tackles the chicken-and-egg problem that challenges hydrogen vehicle adoption and will help deliver a zero emissions future.”


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