But when it comes to investment, Franc made it clear that it’s “not only on policymakers, but also on us [the industry] to make things happen”.
Clean hydrogen infrastructure fund Hy24 was launched in October 2021 as a 50/50 joint venture between FiveT Hydrogen and private investment house Ardian.
Anchor investors in the fund already include the likes of Air Liquide, Total, Vinci, Plug Power, Baker Hughes, Chart, Enagas, GRTgaz, Snam, CCR, AXA and Lotte. Other investors include Group ADP, Ballard Power Systems, EDF and Schaeffler.
Hy24 is aiming to be a “catalyst”, Franc said, to build the long-term value for the hydrogen economy.
“We are in the middle of a very significant crisis which beyond the tragedy, on the energy side, is showing the route for energy independence and energy resilience is more and more embedded into hydrogen,” he said.
“We have a huge responsibility all together to make this happen.”
Highlighting that 39 countries have adopted hydrogen strategies, hydrogen amounts to a 25% share in the fuel demand for net zero 2050, 75 million tonnes of clean hydrogen are required by 2030 for a net-zero 2050, and that $700bn in required investments is needed along the hydrogen value chain by 2030, Franc said “we need a frontrunner”.
“The gap for investment is significant. The figures shown there are obsolete by one week because the European Commission just announced it wants to raise the bar for hydrogen either produced or imported to foster the route to sustainability and energy independence,” Franc continued.
“The dimension and the scale of the topic is seen there and in that new environment of investment, we want to be a frontrunner.”
Read more: Pierre-Etienne Franc bets big on hydrogen
Why does the hydrogen industry need a fund like Hy24?
“Because we need to go at scale and to share risk, to share the load and help large industry players to move faster,” Franc explained.
“Together in a fund like ours, of a mix of industry players and financial players, is basically enabling financial players to get the comfort that the industry is putting scale in the game, and for industry players it’s for them to bring depth to their need for scaled investments.”
Hy24 wants to provide a forum for industrial investors to exchange knowledge and gain decisive insight and an impact fund to mitigate climate change effects for institutional investors.
“They need support, they need partnerships, they need to scale and to sometimes even consolidate their risk,” Franc said.
“We need to bring institutional investors into this very nascent industry, which is not easy to understand; there’s still a lot of risk. But the scale is there and once those assets are at scale, there will be very interesting assets to play for.
“Lastly, we are also there to help the entrepreneurs, which have a good knowledge of the market, to make their dreams of scale come true. Because they are the ones that are going to come and disrupt the market. We need to make that happen.”
Want to hear what Pierre-Etienne Franc said in full?
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