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[IMPACT Webinar]
Smartenergy CTO Discusses Investment Firm's Strategic Pivot to Hydrogen

At Connecting Green Hydrogen Europe 2024, Christian Pho Duc, Chief Technology Officer at Smartenergy, detailed the firm's strategic shift towards leading in the green hydrogen sector. Smartenergy, a Swiss private investment firm operating across Europe, the Middle East, and South America, has focused on hydrogen since January 2020. Recognizing its crucial role in decarbonization, Pho Duc highlighted Smartenergy's commitment to integrating hydrogen across sectors including industry and maritime applications.

Focus on Hydrogen as the Missing Link for Decarbonization: Pho Duc underscored Smartenergy's longstanding focus on renewable assets and highlighted a pivotal move towards hydrogen since January 2020. "We identified hydrogen as the crucial element for achieving full decarbonization," he stated, emphasizing the company's recognition of hydrogen's indispensable role in advancing carbon neutrality.

Market Development and the 'AIM' Strategy: Smartenergy's approach to the hydrogen market is multifaceted, encompassing policy, technology, and market development. Pho Duc introduced the "AIM" strategy, targeting the Aviation, Industry, and Maritime sectors along with specific regulatory requirements that incentivize market participation. "Non-compliance with quotas incurs penalties," he noted, highlighting measures that compel serious engagement with hydrogen.

Challenges in Scaling and Technological Advancement: Acknowledging the scaling challenges of hydrogen projects, the CTO pointed to existing gigawatt experiences while stressing the need for new technologies to enhance flexibility in accommodating renewable energy intermittency.

Financial Viability and Bankability: Pho Duc discussed the critical aspect of project bankability, drawing parallels with the maturation of the solar energy sector. "Establishing credible boundaries with reasonable safety margins is essential," he remarked, underlining the necessity for building trust among banks and investors in the hydrogen sector's potential.

Policy Support as a Catalyst: Calling for proactive policy measures to accelerate the hydrogen economy, Smartenergy's CTO proposed "derisking mechanisms such as project guarantees help projects fly," highlighting government support as pivotal for project sustainability.

Embracing Entrepreneurial Spirit as a Driving Force: In conclusion, Pho Duc advocated for proactive industry initiatives: "Initiate projects to kickstart the learning curve." He urged both governmental bodies and industry stakeholders to embrace an entrepreneurial spirit, initiating projects that drive sectoral growth.

Christian Pho Duc

Chief Technology Officer

Smartenergy

We decided strategically to go for hydrogen because we saw it as the missing link to fully achieve decarbonization. One recommendation is clear: We really need entrepreneurial spirit. Start with initial projects because the learning curve begins when you take action.

                                                                         

- Christian Pho Duc, Chief Technology Officer, Smartenergy

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