Publicly traded deep tech venture capital and incubator platform Jericho Energy Ventures (JEV) makes up one quarter of our awaited investment session that is also comprised of FiveT Hydrogen, Plug Power and Société Générale.

But we couldn’t wait until then to explore then to explore the world of investment. Here, in this exclusive interview, we speak to Ryan Breen, Head of Corporate Strategy at Jericho Energy Ventures, to discuss the importance of new capital in the clean energies sector and the role of the firm world of hydrogen.

“The climate tech space is ripping and roaring,” Breen told H2 View. “Just from 2020 to 2021, there has been a doubling in capital that has been deployed in the venture climate tech space, from $20bn to $40bn.

“To support this, JEV is giving public equity investors what we think is a unique opportunity to gain exposure to, and participate in, a lot of the high growth hydrogen related themes that we are seeing in the market today.”

Founded in 2010, JEV is focused on the whole energy transition, however, places a particular focus on the hydrogen value chain – an aspect of the climate tech market, which the firm says is a large vertical for a lot of capital.

It’s almost impossible to not notice the significant funds that are being injected into a variety of hydrogen firms around the globe today. When you look at announcements of funding rounds, that are happening on such a frequent basis, you even see the big players placing bets on key start-ups.

As recognised by many, start-ups are today seen as the backbone of the economy and these business investments are key for our future. More and more in the hydrogen market, we are witnessing major leaders from a variety of sectors helping these smaller firms succeed.

It may be no surprise that this trend has not gone unnoticed by JEV and the company in fact sees these moves as a vital part of hydrogen’s future. “We think it’s particularly important for early-stage venture capital companies that we are investing in to have large brand names on board,” Breen told H2 View.

“JEV thinks there’s no better signal to the market than having these large corporations, such as large oil and gas companies and large energy companies, join these funding rounds and really validate the opportunity for these companies.”

Supporting the entire rainbow of hydrogen

It probably goes without saying that trends in the market often influence investment and those companies who chose to invest. As Breen explained, production pathways are a huge topic right now.

On this, he told H2 View, “There is a lot of focus on different production pathways. There was a lot of discussion at a conference I spoke at last month about which hydrogen type is going to win in terms of the colour scheme of blue hydrogen, turquoise hydrogen or green hydrogen.

“There is a lively debate on which one [colour hydrogen] is going to win out in the end and which ones should win out in the end, from a climate standpoint. JEV are big believers in the entire rainbow of hydrogen.

“We think in different geographies, different colours will win out, whether that be blue, green, or turquoise, depending on the resources availability to those that want to produce the energy carrier.

“If you think of all the natural gas rich countries, I think they’re probably going to push themselves to really clean up blue and turquoise hydrogen. On the other hand, you have countries that have really good renewable resources at which green hydrogen is going to be the cheaper option in the long term.”

And it’s the scale up of these technologies that is now the number one focus for many entities as they believe it will naturally result in a lower cost of premium associated with clean hydrogen adoption, but is that really the case?

Put simply, scaling up will be a contributor here, but not the only one. This is something Breen recently explored at the 2nd American Hydrogen Forum in Houston. “Driving the cost premium of hydrogen is not only going to be a matter of scale, but it’s going to take targeted research and development, as well as technical innovations, to drive that premium down.

“That’s not just something I’ve come up with out of thin air,” Breen confirmed. “JEV has gone back and studied what happened with other clean technologies in the past, and we used a historical analogue to prove our point.

“Our work was mainly based around solar PV modules. PV modules have dropped by about 97% in cost over the last four decades and there was a study out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that looked at what contributed to these declines over the decades.

“With the study, MIT found that the largest driver of the decrease in cost premium was public and private research and development dollars. Economies of scale was the second, but I think learning from what happened with solar is important to really drive the areas in which we play.”

Scaling up the energy sector to achieve net-zero

Discussion centred around this theme, and more, are set to be highlighted at H2 View’s Virtual Hydrogen Summit Europe 2022 as the company continues to highlight the importance of investments in the race to net-zero.

Looking forward to the event, Breen continued, “The scale of the energy infrastructure today is just enormous, and I think being on a panel that can drive that home and talk about the kind of urgency that we need to act with to put the investment dollars to work is important to us.”

Concluding the discussion by expressing how much investment we can expect to see in clean energies, Breen said, “McKinsey last month released a study that said it’s going to take $275 trillion dollars over the next three decades in order to get to net zero.

“If you average that out over the course of the next 30 years, it ends up being approximately 7.5-10% of global GDP each year.”

Making hydrogen happenThis March, H2 View will explore A Climate for Action and Investment in Europe in an immersive virtual event that features some of the leading stakeholders and influencers in hydrogen, including a Women in Green Hydrogen panel.Confirmed speakers include the Hydrogen Europe, Clean Hydrogen Partnership, FiveT Hydrogen, Airbus, Nel, BMW, Michelin and more.

Further information on the event, agenda and confirmed speakers can be found here.

To book your ticket for €79, click here.