Disruption initiative launches green hydrogen challenge

Image credit: JEDI

The Joint European Disruptive Initiative (JEDI), is launching a green hydrogen challenge and is poised to select its strategic partners.

JEDI is an initiative for disruptive innovation intended to place Europe at the forefront of breakthrough technologies. It is backed by 4100 leaders of Europe’s deep-tech ecosystem and is launching what it has dubbed Tech GrandChallenges to push the frontiers of innovation.

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The decision to focus a GrandChallenge on green hydrogen comes after French President Macron met with Germany’s Chancellor Merkel on 13 October to discuss a joint approach on hydrogen.

In parallel, the European Commission announced the goal to raise the share of hydrogen in Europe’s energy mix from 2% to 14% by 2050, to support the emission reduction target of 55% by 2030.

Grey hydrogen produced by fossil fuels still accounts for roughly 95% of hydrogen produced in the world today. This underscores how critical new technologies will be to sustain Europe’s green transition.

To support green policies, the GrandChallenge aims to make major scientific and technological breakthroughs, ensuring faster market adoption of hydrogen.

Private or public organisations that aim for massive impact in the hydrogen/energy space are encouraged to join the tender for which JEDI will select one or several strategic partners in the next 8 weeks.

Hydrogen is crucial to achieve the decarbonization of human activities. But for its large-scale deployment, green hydrogen and its derivatives ammonia, synthetic fuelsࢀ¦) need to be cost-competitive with alternative options in terms of production, transportation and end-use.

This is currently far from being the case due to three main drawbacks:

  • Lack of technological maturity and scalability makes hydrogen too expensive: blue and green hydrogen production represents only 4% of the current hydrogen supply
  • Hydrogen has a low volumetric energy density and is more difficult to transport and distribute than polluting alternatives
  • End-use technologies based on hydrogen have not matured enough in hard-to-abate sectors (heavy transportation, steel and cement industries)

Public support and subsidies will support the development of hydrogen, however focused and bold research and innovation efforts are needed for breaking current technological bottlenecks.

The JEDI Green Hydrogen GrandChallenge will be focused on four main topics: Massively reducing the costs of green hydrogen production; Designing a scarce-material-free electrolyser; Developing a radical better method for transporting and storing hydrogen; and a hydrogen-powered aviation challenge.

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