Hydrogen mobility: creating momentum and mandate in a sceptic and complex industry

Hydrogen will be important in the mobility transition

The transport sector is big. Not only does transport represent almost a quarter of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions, it is the main cause of air and noise pollution in cities. In the Netherlands, consensus is growing that hydrogen technology will play an important role in transforming the industry. The expectations are high – in 2018 the ministry has put aside €3.88 million in subsidy for hydrogen projects. And with large offshore wind projects, a strong industry and knowledge position, and an excellent infrastructure the cards are in place to become a European frontrunner in the field.

Shell believes in hydrogen, but cannot do it alone

In the 90’s, Royal Dutch Shell already showed strong ambitions in hydrogen, but realised it was too early and it would take longer than expected to implement successfully. Less than two decades later, it is back on their agenda, as shown in the recently published Sky scenario’s and their joint ambitions and investments in the field. Transforming the mobility infrastructure is however not something one party can do alone. To overcome boundaries and set up solid new business models around hydrogen, collaboration throughout and beyond the value chain is key.

Teaming up with Shell

In September 2017 we teamed up with Shell and took up the challenge to start materialising their hydrogen ambitions in the Netherlands. We developed an approach where inspired creativity, smart observations and collaborative innovation go hand in hand in order to reach our goal. Beacons of the project were two Treehouse co-creation sessions for different applications with value chain parties (ie. manufacturers, logistic partners, customers), divergent experts in the field and other stakeholders (ie. policy makers). This created a diverse set of practical solutions for getting hydrogen off the ground. Following the co-creation sessions, our Clubhouse session under ‘Chatham house rules’ enabled open discussions within a preliminary coalition of willing parties to speak freely on sensitive matters.

Apart from valuable content and a solid foundation for new collaboration models, we once again witnessed true fresh energy, clock-speed momentum and mandate around a complex quest for positive impact – both in- and outside the core team of Shell and Fronteer.

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Hein van Es