H2 StartUp Accelerator by Plug and Play: International start-up accelerator with focus on hydrogen launches

Source: press release, 9 June 2022

illustration: Plug and Play
illustration: Plug and Play

One of the world’s first hydrogen-centric start-up accelerator programs will initially be operated out of Hamburg. The global innovation platform Plug and Play Tech Center announced a new initiative focused on hydrogen by launching the H2 StartUp Accelerator. Initiating partners are Shell and Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), along with the founding members City of Hamburg and Phillips 66/JET. The program can be a vehicle to foster the necessary dialogue and cooperation to accelerate the development of a hydrogen ecosystem in Europe and beyond.

In the new hydrogen economy, there’s momentum being made worldwide with more and more countries developing national hydrogen strategies and establishing partnerships to collaborate on hydrogen-related projects. It’s clear that collaboration is key for realising the potential of the hydrogen transition, as building up and to scale its value chain requires coordination amongst policymakers, entrepreneurs, corporations and investors.

“Join us in building an ecosystem of change-makers who are interested in shaping an innovative hydrogen ecosystem in Europe and beyond…we will run innovation programs twice a year, connecting the world’s best start-ups with the most innovative corporations through networking, events, world-class mentoring, and potential for investment,” says Sallar Faridi, Director of Plug and Play Hamburg.

Plug and Play is a global innovation platform that aims to build an ecosystem where game-changing start-ups meet the world’s leading corporations to develop the advancements and technologies of tomorrow.

“We are very pleased that Plug and Play, together with internationally renowned players such as Fraunhofer, EPRI, and Shell, have chosen Hamburg as the location for the new H2 StartUp Accelerator. With the target to establish the infrastructure for a green hydrogen economy by 2030, Hamburg is one of the global trailblazers of this cutting-edge technology. Due to the concentrated expertise along the entire value chain and the proximity to some of the most powerful renewable energy regions, Hamburg is the perfect place to develop new business models for sustainably produced hydrogen,” says Michael Westhagemann, Hamburg’s Minister for Economy and Innovation.

The purpose of the program is to connect hydrogen start-ups from all over the world with corporate partners and other stakeholders to pilot and roll out their technologies. The goal is to create an open innovation and start-up ecosystem connecting the northern German and European regions to the global hydrogen economy. The platform will serve as the interface between research, industry, and other institutions and represent a homeport for the inception and development of start-ups and their technologies.

Experienced industry players will be an instrumental pillar of the platform, who, according to their respective hydrogen strategies, will collaborate with these start-ups across a multitude of areas. In addition to their industrial know-how, corporations will provide access to the necessary infrastructure to test, pilot, and scale new technologies in the following areas:

  • Transportation
  • H2 fuelled combustion
  • Fuel cell applications
  • Storage
  • Carbon capture
  • Compression
  • Production
  • Solid oxide electrolysis
  • Alkaline electrolysers, and more

The platform will be supported by the Fraunhofer Institutes for Solar Energy Systems ISE and Open Communication Systems FOKUS in the field of hydrogen technologies and energy transition, digital transformation, and innovation management. The main task of the science partners is to conduct an in-depth assessment of submitted business ideas including the identification and closing of technology gaps within the pilot projects with partners.

Plug and Play will act as the operator of the platform and serve as a bridge to international innovation, VC, and start-up ecosystems around the globe.