Total, Air Liquide invest in $1.7 billion green hydrogen fund

TotalEnergies SE, Air Liquide SA and Vinci SA pledged to contribute 100 million euros ($116 million) each to a fund created by Ardian SAS and FiveT Hydrogen that aims to invest 1.5 billion euros in clean hydrogen infrastructure.

The commitments are the latest sign of the growing interest in the carbon-free fuel. Nations have pledged tens of billions of dollars of subsidies to bring down the cost of producing hydrogen with renewable energy – called green hydrogen – instead of the “grey” variety that’s made with fossil fuels, as part of plans to eliminate emissions.

“Clean, renewable hydrogen will play a key role in the energy transition, and TotalEnergies wants to be a pioneer in its mass production,” the company’s chief executive officer Patrick Pouyanne said in a statement Friday. “We are currently working on several projects, notably to decarbonize the grey hydrogen used in our European refineries by 2030.”

The fund will be managed by Hy24, a joint venture created by Ardian and FiveT Hydrogen, the asset managers said in a separate statement Friday. It will take “strong,” but minority stakes in projects such as large electrolyzers producing green hydrogen, ammonia or methanol, as well as fleets of taxis and trucks using hydrogen and refueling stations, Pierre-Etienne Franc, CEO of FiveT Hydrogen, said in an interview. It plans to invest in about 30 projects over the next five years, spread across Europe, Asia and the Americas. 

U.S. energy groups Plug Power Inc., Chart Industries Inc. and Baker Hughes Co. are also investing in the fund, and French insurer Axa SA and Korean petrochemical producer Lotte Chemical Corp. will join as anchor investors, Hy24 said. Including the pledges from TotalEnergies, industrial gas producer Air Liquide and construction group Vinci, Hy24 now has 800 million euros of commitment.   

The international tender process to select Hy24 to manage the fund, and to bring in other investors was arranged by Societe Generale.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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