The Financial Times has reported on how start-up Tree Energy Solutions, which aims to import hydrogen into Europe, has attracted significant funding from a range of investors, a sign of the level of interest in the emerging sector. HSBC, UniCredit and E.ON have been amongst the investors, who together have contributed €65 million to the company, which is now valued at around €700 million. Chief executive Marco Alverà, former head of Italian gas network Snam, told the FT that with the “amount of energy that’s needed for Europe is so big that we should go produce this energy where there’s a lot of land and a lot of sun…hydrogen is just the best way to move the solar energy from places like Chile, Australia, [and] Texas and bring it to Germany and other parts of the world.” Tree Energy Solutions is working on a “green energy hub” in the words of the FT, at the German North Sea port of Wilhelmshaven, where it will first receive imports of LNG before switching to green hydrogen and synthetic methane, though one wonders if blue hydrogen might also be included.
Interestingly, while suggesting Europe should import a large amount of its green energy, Mr Alverà also said that the European Union should avoid the mistakes of the past, when subsidies for solar and wind energy resulted in China taking advantage of the demand to capture the lion’s share of the manufacturing market for solar panels. Instead, it “just put on its poorest citizens the burden of this massive €1tn subsidy.”