Energy giants launch ‘world’s largest’ clean hydrogen infrastructure fund

Global energy companies TotalEnergies and Air Liquide have partnered with French construction firm VINCI and a group of international companies to launch what they are calling the world’s largest clean hydrogen infrastructure fund.

The aim is to help speed up the growth of the clean hydrogen market by investing in projects across the hydrogen value chain. The fund has a target to reach €1.5 billion ($1.7 billion) with initial commitments by participating companies having reached €800 million ($924.7 million).

The fund will support projects within the renewable energy and low-carbon hydrogen generation, storage, and transportation sectors in the Americas, Asia, and Europe as a partner or finance provider.

The fund will target large strategic projects and will leverage alliances with some of the world’s biggest clean hydrogen market players including Groupe ADP, Ballard, EDF, and Schaeffler, to grow the hydrogen market.

A lack of infrastructure and inadequate funding have been identified as the biggest barriers to using green hydrogen as an enabler of the energy transition and the decarbonization of the global economy.

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TotalEnergies, Air Liquide, and VINCI as lead partners of the fund have each pledged €100 million ($115.5 billion) towards the fund. The three companies seek to use clean hydrogen to achieve their 2050 carbon-neutral targets, as well as help fight climate change.

Investment company Ardian and clean hydrogen investment manager FiveT Hydrogen have formed a new joint venture Hy24 to manage the fund.

Companies including Plug Power, Chart Industries, Baker Hughes, and LOTTE Chemical will join the fund as anchor investors, according to a statement.

With increasingly supportive public policies, use of debt financing and support from energy market players with experience in clean hydrogen project deployment and financing, the fund is expected to contribute to the development of hydrogen projects with a total value of about €15 billion ($17.3 billion). 

Patrick Pouyanné, CEO of TotalEnergies, said: “We believe that clean, renewable hydrogen will play a key role in the energy transition, and TotalEnergies wants to be a pioneer in its mass production. We are currently working on several projects, notably to decarbonize the grey hydrogen used in our European refineries by 2030. We are convinced that a collective effort is needed to kick-start the hydrogen sector and take it to scale. We are thus proud to launch and invest in the Clean hydrogen infrastructure fund, which will also give us privileged insights in the sector.”

Benoît Potier, the CEO of Air Liquide, added: “Hydrogen has become a central element of the energy transition. The time to act is now, not only as companies on a stand-alone basis but by joining forces with states, other industrial groups and the financial community.

“As Air Liquide, we have already committed to invest approximately 8 billion euros in the low-carbon hydrogen supply chain by 2035.”

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