Plug and Play launches hydrogen startup accelerator

Plug and Play launches hydrogen startup accelerator

The global innovation platform Plug and Play Tech Center has launched the H2 Startup Accelerator in Hamburg, Germany, as one of the world’s first hydrogen-centric startup accelerator programs.

Courtesy of Mediaserver Hamburg
Plug and Play launches hydrogen startup accelerator
Courtesy of Mediaserver Hamburg

Initiating partners are Shell and Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), along with the founding members City of Hamburg and Phillips 66/JET. This program is imagined to be a tool to foster the necessary cooperation to accelerate the development of a hydrogen ecosystem in Europe and beyond.

Collaboration is key for realising the potential of the hydrogen transition, as building up and scaling its value chain requires coordination amongst policymakers, corporations, and investors.

“We will run innovation programs twice a year, connecting (…) startups with (…) corporations through networking, events, world-class mentoring, and potential for investment,” said Sallar Faridi, director of Plug and Play Hamburg.

Plug and Play is a global innovation platform that aims to build an ecosystem where startups meet corporations to develop the advancements and technologies of the future.

“We are very pleased that Plug and Play, together with internationally renowned players such as Fraunhofer, EPRI, and Shell, have chosen Hamburg as the location for the new H2 Startup Accelerator. With the target to establish the infrastructure for a green hydrogen economy by 2030, Hamburg is one of the global trailblazers of this cutting-edge technology. Due to the concentrated expertise along the entire value chain and the proximity to some of the most powerful renewable energy regions, Hamburg is the perfect place to develop new business models for sustainably produced hydrogen,” said Michael Westhagemann, Hamburg’s minister for economy and innovation.

The purpose of the program is to connect hydrogen startups from all over the world with corporate partners and other stakeholders to pilot and roll out their technologies. The goal is to create an open innovation and startup ecosystem connecting the northern German and European regions to the global hydrogen economy. The platform will serve as the interface between research, industry, and other institutions and represent a homeport for the inception and development of startups and their technologies.

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In addition to their industrial know-how, corporations will provide access to the necessary infrastructure to test, pilot, and scale new technologies in the following areas:

  • Transportation;
  • H2 fueled combustion;
  • Fuel cell applications;
  • Storage
  • Carbon capture;
  • Compression;
  • Production;
  • Solid oxide electrolysis;
  • Alkaline electrolysers, and more.

The platform will be supported by the Fraunhofer Institutes for Solar Energy Systems ISE and Open Communication Systems FOKUS in the field of hydrogen technologies and energy transition, digital transformation, and innovation management. The main task of the science partners is to conduct an in-depth assessment of submitted business ideas including the identification and closing of technology gaps within the pilot projects with partners.

Plug and Play will act as the operator of the platform and serve as a bridge to international innovation, VC, and startup ecosystems around the globe.

Henrik Czernomoriez from Fraunhofer FOKUS said: “The field of green hydrogen is currently one of the most exciting research areas and will be one of the key pillars toward a carbon-free economy. Therefore, we are convinced that this innovative program will open up great opportunities for startups, corporates, and society.”

Fabian Ziegler, managing director of Shell Companies in Germany said: “The next 10 to 20 years will be definitely exciting in the field of hydrogen, and young people with bite, technological and economic know-how will have many opportunities…Because we need new and creative ideas to succeed with the energy transition.”

Neva Espinoza, EPRI vice president of energy supply and low-carbon resources added: “Accelerating low-carbon, hydrogen technologies is an essential part of achieving global net-zero targets by 2050.”