News, insights and events for innovators
News, insights and events for innovators
News, insights and events for innovators

The green hydrogen gap: decarbonising hard to abate industries with deep tech

Elena Bou & Jacob Ruiter, Executive Board Members, EIT InnoEnergy, as featured in Sifted.

Green Hydrogen decarbonising hard to abate industries

2022 was a vibrant investment year for net-zero technologies and sustainable energy, especially in storage and hydrogen. For green hydrogen, most opportunities have come from ventures focusing on its production – solving technical challenges while achieving competitive costs.  Although this is important, deep tech solutions are needed to address a growing innovation gap: where green hydrogen can be used as a means to decarbonise hard to abate industries when direct electrification is not possible.

The scale of impact

To demonstrate the scale of impact, steel for example, represents 5% of Europe’s CO2 emissions, and the agriculture sector 10% of the EU’s total GHG emissions.

We would like to see solutions where the focus is not only on the ‘molecule’, but on the application.

Why? Well, the reality is, green hydrogen’s full potential will only be realised when it can be deployed at scale in the industries that need it most, which requires deep tech innovation in engineering. And, given that the price increase of green steel or CO2-free fertilizer in end products is around 1%, but has the ability to reduce emissions by 30-40%, viability of cost versus reward is clear.

Regulation driving demand for change

We are also seeing a combination of net-zero objectives and increased sustainability regulation driving demand for change. The EU’s Fit for 55 plan requires companies using hydrogen to replace at least 50% of that with renewable hydrogen by 2030 and REPowerEU aims for around 30% of primary steel production in the EU to be decarbonised by 2030 using green hydrogen. These initiatives, together with the pressing need to improve energy security, are creating positive market conditions for innovators and start-ups that focus on green hydrogen application in hard to abate industries.