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The EU and the Green Hydrogen Acceleration Center, Supported by Bill Gates

The EU and the Green Hydrogen Acceleration Center, Supported by Bill Gates

Date: November 6th 2020

Author: Alenka Lena Klopčič

Category: En.vision

Topic: RES and EE , New technologies , Startup , En.vision

Green steel based on green hydrogen usage is possible and, furthermore, it is the future. This was one of the two takeaways from the first day of this year’s TBB (The Business Booster), the biggest energy start-up event in Europe, organised by EIT InnoEnergy. The second refers to the information that, supported by Bill Gates’s Breakthrough Energy, the European Green Hydrogen Acceleration Center (EGHAC) will advance a sector that is key to meeting Europe’s net-zero greenhouse gas emissions goal by 2050. Dr. Steven Chu, an American Nobel Prize-winning physicist, emphasised the need to support research and innovation, while the wind industry recognises the opportunities in wide electrification and welcomes the greening of steel – a predominant part of wind turbines.

What will the role be of the European Green Hydrogen Acceleration Center?


In addition to this year’s TBB opening, EIT InnoEnergy launched the European Green Hydrogen Acceleration Center (EGHAC), which marks an unprecedented effort to support the development of a green hydrogen economy worth an annual EUR 100 billion by 2025 that could create half a million direct and indirect jobs across the green hydrogen value chain. The initiative is supported by Breakthrough Energy, a network of entities founded by Bill Gates and which has several of the wealthiest people in the world on board, including Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma, Michael Bloomberg, and Richard Branson, among others. Read also: Are Energy Start-ups Contributing to the Net-Zero Emissions World?

zeleni prehodAmong the most urgent near-term priorities is closing the price gap between carbon emitting technologies and green hydrogen, which would drive substantial displacement of hydrocarbons in energy-intensive industrial applications (e.g. steel, cement, chemicals), heavy transport (e.g. maritime and heavy duty) and fertilisers. Green hydrogen can also be used to store energy, which makes it a key enabler in the expansion of volatile renewable sources, in particular wind and solar energy, announced InnoEnergy.

“We certainly hope that the (COVID-19) recovery will be green, and the economic recovery package is a great opportunity to achieve this,” stressed Baptiste Buet, InnoEnergy’s EU business unit director, on the second day of the TBB agenda, adding that entrepreneurs should engage and take part in this ‘green transition’. Elena Bou, InnoEnergy’s innovation director, appealed for joint action to be timely and prompt.

When a Nobel Prize-winning physicist cheers on start-ups


When talking about the energy future and the transition needed, Dr. Steven Chu, an American physicist and a former government official (he served as the 12th United States Secretary of Energy from 2009 to 2013 in the administration of President Barack Obama), believes that a mixture of solutions and technologies will lead us towards this future. In his virtual speech, Chu agreed with the general message of this year’s TBB – that a large part of the future lies in hydrogen.

Chu – who is also known for his research at Bell Labs and Stanford University into the cooling and trapping of atoms with laser light, for which he won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997, along with his scientific colleagues Claude Cohen-Tannoudji and William Daniel Phillips – emphasised that the importance of research and innovation, and therefore investments directed into these areas, are an important aspect when talking about further development and progress.

mladi naslovnaTo this end, Chu said that he also welcomes the ‘bubbling arena’ of energy start-ups, and encourages them to keep up with their efforts, despite the fact that many will fail. The start-ups, even the beginners among them, can try raising capital through the European Innovation Council, among others, explained Stéphane Ouaki, the head of unit for Financial Instruments at the European Commission’s DG Research and Innovation.

First electrification, then green steel and, in between, wind turbines


In terms of financing, Giles Dickson, the CEO of WindEurope, stressed that it is crucial to keep the financing of renewable – especially referring to wind energy – projects stable, adding that the wind industry also supports hydrogen projects. “But first, we must work on the further electrification – of everything,” said Dickson, who in his conclusion also related to InnoEnergy’ launch of the EGHAC.

Dickson especially welcomed the EGHAC’s plan to work on green steel, since wind turbines are predominantly made of steel – 71-79% of the total turbine mass, according to the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory.



This article is available also in Slovene.



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