New H2 StartUp Accelerator trailblazing hydrogen technology

5 January 2023
SERIES (8) on Hamburg's "Ideas Accelerator": Eye on setting up world's first hydrogen ecosystem

Start-ups and scale-ups in the hydrogen sector took part live in the new H2 StartUp Accelerator’s “Batch Zero” from June to October 2022.  “After several virtual meetings, we were able to bring all the partners together to get to know each other and to see whether the idea behind our scheme can be improved," said Monika Brauers, Manager of the Plug and Play Tech Centre with responsibility for Hamburg’s H2 StartUp Accelerator.  Now the scheme is to be extended from four to nine months to categorize technologies and validate business models through mentoring and networking.

Boosting Europe's hydrogen sector

H2 StartUp Accelerator's first batch launches in February with the aim of setting up one of the world's first hydrogen ecosystems for start-ups. "Thanks to Plug and Play's large network, we can link up international start-ups and scale-ups with regional and European companies and vice versa. In this way, we offer smaller technology companies the opportunity to present and develop their technology and to benefit from the experience of established stakeholders in the industry including the initiators and founding members," said Brauers. These include the City of Hamburg, the Fraunhofer institutes FOKUS and ISE as well as the U.S. Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the energy companies Phillips 66/JET and Shell. "EPRI and Shell were previously involved in setting up a Low-Carbon Hydrogen Accelerator (LCHA) in Houston and felt Hamburg was the right place for boosting Europe's hydrogen sector."


H2 Startup Accelerator's onboarding workshop

Demand for hydrogen to double by 2030

The north German coast where wind power can be used to generate green hydrogen and the Port of Hamburg are among the location's main advantages, Brauers pointed out. "The city has the largest German seaport, which forms the largest contiguous industrial area in Europe." Industry accounts for over 90 per cent of the demand for hydrogen. Europe's largest copper producer, Aurubis, and the multinational steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal, both of which are based in Hamburg, use green hydrogen. Even if a large-scale electrolyser is built on the site of the former power plant in Moorburg, domestically-produced green hydrogen will not be able to meet the growing demand. The current demand is expected to double by 2030 and the port of Hamburg offers the ideal infrastructure for importing hydrogen.


Monika Brauers, Manager

Green hydrogen sector gaining momentum

Developing a green hydrogen sector has gained momentum in Germany and across the globe given the ongoing energy crisis. And the H2 StartUp Accelerator is targeting start-ups in all corners of the globe. "At present, our scouting team is evaluating start-ups all over the world. Compared to other industries, the selection of start-ups and scale-ups focusing on hydrogen is still quite manageable, but we definitely have our eye on very interesting candidates," said  Brauers, who expressed satisfaction with the applicants on the website. "We're already seeing great interest there, even though we're not advertising yet." The Scaleup Landing Pad launched by Hamburg Invest in June is also helpful. The new measures offer participating scale-ups in Hamburg customized support for business development, living and workspaces, HR services and location consulting. "Two of the start-ups supported by the new landing pad are in the hydrogen sector. Different approaches are key to boosting forward-looking technologies. We all have to work together to achieve the goals of the Paris climate agreement, We can't do it alone."

Watch now: Numerous Future Hamburg Talks on hydrogen in Hamburg.

(1) Start-ups now shaping media in Hamburg thanks to Media Lift 

(2) ZAL Innovation Accelerator boosting good ideas

(3) Foodlab accelerator coming up with recipes for success

(4) Start-ups join forces in Digital Hub Logistics for climate protection 

(5) Next Commerce Accelerator benefiting start-ups and established firms

(6) Shaping the economy with artificial intelligence

(7) Homeport now testing ground for forward-looking maritime technology

Sources and further information

Plug and Play

The Plug and Play platform links up start-ups, corporations, venture capital firms, universities and government agencies with each other. The company based in Silicon Valley has over 35 branches worldwide. Founded by Saeed Amidi, CEO, the multi-entrepreneur has 28 years of experience in launching, managing and growing successful companies.

Infos and Inspiration on Startup City Hamburg

What’s new on Hamburg’s startup scene? Which events are a must for founders and who offers startup advice? Startups, entrepreneurs and innovators can find out all this and much more at Startup City Hamburg. The platform offers an overview of funding and financing opportunities and coworking spaces. Startups can create job offers and expand their network: Hamburg’s startup ecosystem gathered into one space.

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