hydrogen business challenger

Hydrogen Business Challenger: faster access to finance in European electrolysis market  


When it comes to green hydrogen, there’s always room for more ideas. But often companies who have potentially brilliant products lack attractiveness for investors. Therefor Invest-NL launches the Hydrogen Business Challenger, supporting companies in increasing their chances of successful financing.  

This guestblog is written by Wendy Dubbeld, Program Manager Hydrogen Business Challenger at Invest-NL. 

A sustainable feedstock for chemical industries, a sustainable source of energy for those industries and transport sectors that cannot be powered electrically, and an energy carrier to store and displace sustainably produced electricity. Green hydrogen ticks all these boxes and as such is a crucial element in our transition towards a renewable energy system.  

Many strong initiatives on green hydrogen 

While we see many strong initiatives focused on green hydrogen, there is always room for more. Transforming our entire energy and feedstock system asks for more production of green hydrogen than current initiatives provide. Meanwhile, we require higher performance, increased durability, and lower cost to ensure the reliability and affordability of our future energy system.  

Fortunately, the Netherlands has a strong high-tech manufacturing industry as well as ecosystems that facilitate partnerships and knowledge exchange between energy-intensive industry, knowledge institutions and high-tech manufacturing parties. 

Transforming our entire energy and feedstock system asks for more production of green hydrogen than the currently known initiatives will provide. 

Commercial opportunities 

This need for innovation in materials, components, stacks, balance of plant and system integration of electrolyzers offers commercial opportunities for those who rise to the challenge. The available financial stimuli for decarbonisation are increasing, and financial institutions and venture capitalists are more interested in funding renewable energy solutions.  

We often see companies that have potentially brilliant products, but lack attractiveness for investors. 

How to become attractive for investors? 

So you should think the problem is solved. We wish it was that easy, but this is not (yet) the case. At Invest-NL we often see companies that have potentially brilliant products, but lack attractiveness for investors. Often because they fail to address for instance market, legal, regulatory and financial challenges in their businessplans. 

This causes a lose-lose-lose situation:  

  • companies lose an opportunity to scale up faster; 
  • investors miss the chance to make an impact; 
  • society as a whole runs the risk of not meeting its goals with respect to the energy transition.  

So we decided to take up the challenge and see if we can support companies to increase their chances of successful financing. 

Hydrogen Business Challenger 

With this in mind, we recently launched the Hydrogen Business Challenger, which is financed and facilitated by Invest-NL. The Challenge offers innovative companies in the electrolysis supply chain a short, intensive route for validating and improving their business case and related plans. 

Faster access to finance and success 

The projected outcome of the process is a refined proposition that gives companies faster access to finance and enhances their chances of success in the emerging, fast-growing European electrolysis market.  

The impact of the overal program is still open. However, we are certain that more innovation is required and there are companies that could use additional support with their scale up efforts. With this program, we hope to lower the threshold for these companies and help them and their future investors to further increase their joint impact! 

Submit your idea before 22 June ’22 

If you think this program might be suitable for your organization, check out Hydrogen Business Challenger

The Hydrogen Business Challenger is supported by Institute for Sustainable process Technology (ISPT), FME, TNO, Electrolyser Makersplatform, TKI Nieuw Gas | Topsector Energie and NWBA, who are all represented in the advisory board.