For anyone wondering about the recent silence, I’ve been busy with a new venture in hydrogen refuelling called Element 2.
During the past thirty years of pushing atoms and electrons around in scientific instruments I’ve crossed paths with the hydrogen economy multiple times, and in every case the bright ideas such as storing hydrogen in carbon nanotubes have spluttered to a halt.
It’s no surprise that the previous failures came as a result of the potential scientific breakthroughs encountering less of a sucking sound from a hydrogen hungry market than yawning indifference, but that was last decade.
Since then we’ve seen the growth of the green economy, ESG investing and a real global commitment to decarbonisation creating the market conditions where hydrogen technologies are once more in demand.
Looking at this last year I found that everyone involved with hydrogen was talking about chickens and eggs, a clear signal to an entrepreneurial mind that everyone is waiting for someone to do something, and my co founder and I set out to identify why that something was.
Amazingly it was as simple as hydrogen refuelling stations. Transport fleets were willing to use hydrogen if they could fill up the trucks. Producers were willing to supply hydrogen but there was no demand. Putting in refuelling infrastructure was the missing piece to connect supply and demand.
As I write, Element 2 is in the process of securing almost 200 sites across the UK and plans to roll out 800 pumps by 2027, and has done this in a little over six months. The company is scaling at an incredible pace, and the difference this time is that the market wants and needs hydrogen.