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The future of hydrogen and the role that the regulators, customers and industry play in scaling the emerging green hydrogen economy.


Event Speakers

Olivia Breese Olivia Breese | Chief Executive Officer, Power2X, Ørsted
Pierre Etienne Franc Pierre Etienne Franc | Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, FiveT Hydrogen and Chief Executive Officer, Hy24


The energy transition, energy security crisis, war in Ukraine and drive to decarbonization have placed green hydrogen firmly in the spotlight. Its role as a viable alternative solution for heavy industry, transportation and long-duration energy storage to further enable renewables in the grid is being recognized by regulators, industry and customers. Projects and investments are surging with 359 large scale projects announced with an associated c. $500bn investment by 2030, compared to historic low levels. However, the path to scaling the hydrogen economy remains uncertain and despite there being many vocal advocates, few are willing to step forward with meaningful investments.

Russell Reynolds Associates recently convened both investors and corporate experts in hydrogen for a spirited discussion on the future of hydrogen and the role that the regulators, customers and industry play in realising current market appetite to scale the emerging green hydrogen economy.



Role of the customer

  • Proven demand is the critical lever for enabling green hydrogen and those businesses close to the end user have a role to play in positioning the industry and ensuring demand.
  • There is continuing momentum behind industries where the premiums can be pushed to end consumers, e.g. luxury goods and automotives. Headway is being made by those at the vanguard, such as Volvo’s Green Steel collaboration with SSAB and Ovako.
  • Pivoting to consumer demand will require a resilient approach and an appetite for risk enabled by funds and industry leaders placing strategic bets, similar to the initial foundation for the expansion in early renewables.
  • The reward for the long-bet customer is clear with comparative cost efficiencies between renewables and hydrogen: the cost of renewables is now 90% lower than 2010 and hydrogen only needs to halve to meet this cost efficiency.



Regulatory enabled growth

  • Customer demand and industry investments will fast-track regulatory interest and state-enabled solutions to encourage a mandated approach to decarbonization and strategic funding for hydrogen projects.
  • Some are already emerging as leaders - the USA’s recent IRA legislation is designed to supercharge hydrogen economy via tax credits, investment incentives and optimize existing domestic pipeline infrastructure for hydrogen with an $8bn hydrogen hub program.
  • Such commitments made by the USA, should enable the market in other regions, as new synergies will emerge across technologies, efficiencies and grid stability to further lower premiums, raise customer demand and in turn, scale the green hydrogen economy globally.



Distribution solutions

  • Cost-efficient transmission and distribution are needed to unlock hydrogen’s potential.
  • Core constraints remain with onsite electrolysis in developed markets an unlikely solution and large-scale flows around Europe, for example, an unlikely prospect with current infrastructure.
  • However, gas co-lending is a pragmatic solution to blend up to 30% of hydrogen into existing gas networks.
  • Emerging markets located near to demand centres are also investment opportunities, in particular North Africa.
  • Scaled flows can utilise existing offshore to inshore infrastructure.



Path forward

  • The time is right to tap into green hydrogen’s potential as a clean, secure and affordable energy.
  • As the world faces the challenges posed by energy insecurity and complex decarbonization needs, we should seek to increase customer demand, mandate and fund growth via regulation and explore distribution solutions.



We hope you can join us for the next event in January 2023 where we will explore the investment themes in decarbonization across the harder to abate markets, such as heavy industry (steel, cement, refining etc).




Chris Nicholson; a Partner in the firm’s Global Industrial & Natural Resource Practice, covering the Energy markets.

Abigail Skerrett; a member of the firm’s Global Industrial & Natural Resource Practice and co-lead of the Global Energy Transition Practice.

Shola Brown; a member of the firm’s Global Industrial & Natural Resource Practice.



If you are interested in joining future discussions or would like to speak to one of our team, please fill in your details below.