NovAzure co-hosted the webinar session at the COP26 European Union Side Events on 5th November 2021 to stimulate action and thinking around hydrogen as a part of the net zero energy and mobility solution.
The panel of experts from Engie H2 Green, the European Union, the Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, the regional government of the North Netherlands (SNN) and NovAzure shared experience and perspectives from corporate, government and start-ups communities with the audience. Panellists were asked to state their top priorities for driving the impact and pace of hydrogen take-up. A few of their insights are below:
NovAzure breaks down the investment landscape
At NovAzure, we consult and provide services to drive the energy mobility transition to net zero. Jean-Jacques Jouanna, NovAzure co-Managing Director, gave an overview of European hydrogen investment and start-up activity, noting that whilst hydrogen R&D is still relatively immature compared to wind and solar, it is a rapidly growing sector for solutions. Growth in the first half of 2021 was notable, investment in hydrogen production grew 700%. Meanwhile, investment in storage, transportation, and applications was encouraging, albeit lagging far behind production investment. The balanced growth of the 3 key areas of the value chain – production, storage/transport and applications – is key to a smooth and rapid acceleration of hydrogen in Europe, avoiding any bottlenecks. Therefore, there must be both an investment focus on whole hydrogen value chain as an inter-dependent system and in the formation of the right partnerships across the value chain to deliver the required growth.
Europe is ready to contribute to global climate action – Hydrogen is key
Nienke Homan, Regional Minister of the Province of Groningen, The Netherlands, explained how hydrogen will be key to meeting our climate policy targets, acknowledging the role of regional governments in hydrogen demand creation. After operating issues with natural gas extraction, hydrogen enabled Groningen to rapidly transform its natural gas sector to a hydrogen sector, whilst protecting jobs and the regional economy. Homan also highlighted the important role that regional governments have to play in scaling up hydrogen to become cost effective, through collaboration and knowledge exchange. By piloting hydrogen innovations, implementation across the value chain demonstrated that whole systems change is possible. Groningen aims to be the blueprint for regional scale ‘hydrogen valleys’, which can be connected and then scaled up further.
The corporate perspective
Michèle Azalbert, Managing Director of renewable Hydrogen producer Engie emphasized their ambitious plans for production capacity and storage by 2050. The business and technology roadmap to develop interconnected hydrogen valleys in Europe is underway, and the technology for storage and integrated use across industry and energy sectors, is ready now. Azalbert underlines the importance of public and private collaboration to develop hydrogen projects, especially in the first years to create opportunities for demand and demonstrate feasibility. Above all though, Azalbert stressed that actual orders for hydrogen technology are the key to utilising its potential to meet ever more urgent net-zero targets. The global acknowledgement that hydrogen is a key player in the renewable energy mix should translate to urgent acceleration in the coming years.
There followed questions and comments from the audience, such as concerns about the access to precious metals for the electrolysis process, where the panel explained the importance of actively managing the supply/demand balance of these resources to avoid shortages and price spikes.
We invite you to watch the webinar for the full discussion, and welcome any feedback or thoughts you wish to share:
If you want to find out more about how hydrogen is playing a part in meeting net zero targets, and how we might help you be part of this transition, then please reach out to us at NovAzure.