Private sector panel held to discuss solutions for unlocking hydrogen investment


On 17 August, the Green Hydrogen Virtual Summit saw a private sector panel discuss ways in which investment into hydrogen could be promoted.

The event was hosted by David Hart, Visiting Professor at ICL’s Centre for Environmental Policy and Director at E4tech. Views on the requirements and solutions for unlocking investment were given by three speakers from varying private sector organisations.

Christian Pho Duc, Managing Director of Projects at Smart Energy, emphasised the need for implementation of concrete legislation along with clear and concise supporting measures. He noted that introduction of such legislation has been made possible now by the strong momentum of hydrogen across both politics and industry.

Paulo Marques, Chief Technical Officer at CaetanoBus, raised the need for significant improvement in hydrogen refueling infrastructure in order develop local market clusters. As a bus manufacturer, CaetanoBus (Portugal-based) is currently exporting 80% of its products and focusing in Germany where refuelling infrastructure is more developed.

Jorge Miguel Fernandes, Global Head of Innovation at Galp, spoke about incentives as a measure to stimulate demand for hydrogen. Options such as mandating, auctions and subsidies were given along with a need to ensure end users and organisations are making equal commitments.

Christian Pho Duc went on to highlight the opportunity for decentralised hydrogen generation to help scale and build-up hydrogen communities. Jorge Miguel Fernandes noted that a decentralised approach would depend on the type of technology utilised, with on-site hydrogen generation particularly applicable to solar PV farms. Forming partnerships and collaborating across sectors was also deemed essential in enabling scaling up of hydrogen markets.

All panelists highlighted the opportunity for small-scale companies to play an important role in research and innovation to drive down hydrogen costs.

Christian Pho Duc concluded by discussing the need to de-risk investment. He made comparisons between the next steps in the hydrogen transition with those in the development of solar PV whereby initial funding and support mechanisms were put in place across Europe to enable the technology to now compete subsidy-free. Emphasised was the need for similar support for hydrogen across all sections of the value chain through a coordinated and measured approach.