“Net Zero Industry Act is a great assist from the EU, but it’s up to the industry and investors to score the goals”

Written by
Hydrogen Mem-Tech

Thomas Reinertsen is the CEO of Hydrogen Mem-Tech. In this article, he reflects on the newly passed Net Zero Industry Act (NZIA).

A new EU regulation mandates that at least 40 percent of future zero-emission technologies must originate from EU countries – including the EEA. This plan is a gift for the green transition in Norway and Europe, but it’s up to the industry and investors to seize the opportunity and make a difference.

Those of us working with technologies that contribute to the future energy mix and green transition are thrilled with the EU's new Net Zero Industry Act (NZIA), which was formally adopted on Monday, 27 May, in Brussels. NZIA could be crucial for Europe’s green future.

Risk, profitability, scale

From my hydrogen-focused perspective on the future of energy diversity, I have consistently cautioned against relying too heavily on government subsidies. It’s only when major industrial players and investors get on board that we will achieve substantial change.

The potential for profitability is key. It must be worth taking risks in investing in larger projects, preferably testing technology and solutions on a large scale at existing facilities, not just in small-scale laboratory experiments.

With the newly minted Net Zero Industry Act, the stage is set for this substantial change. The aim is to ensure greater competitiveness and that more industrial and technological development takes place at home in Europe, and in Norway. For a long time, Europe has lagged behind the United States in accelerating energy diversity and the green transition.

Additionally, many parts and goods are imported from countries like China. With NZIA, at least 40 percent of the critical technologies needed to produce our future solutions, such as hydrogen, batteries, solar cells, and wind turbines, must come from EU and EEA countries. This is how the EU is preparing the ground for sustainable value chains in Europe for various technologies.

The beginning of hydrogen value chains

We have several companies in Norway that have technology and solutions to deliver on the Norwegian and European needs and demand. But as of now, many companies struggle to move beyond the start-up phase. It has been too risky to invest in start-ups. Hurdles have been too high and too many.

But with a single stroke of the pen, the EU has now changed the rules to our advantage. The Net Zero Industry Act makes it more attractive than ever to invest in Norwegian start-ups and scale-ups. Now it remains to be seen who will seize the opportunity first.

Personally, I hope this will also accelerate hydrogen value chains in Europe. The new regulation could potentially kickstart large companies, leading to the realisation of more projects. Hydrogen Mem-Tech’s contribution is a technology that extracts pure hydrogen from carbon-containing gases and enables the post-treatment of CO2, among other things. It’s not just a very promising technology, we are at a stage where we can test this on an industrial scale. We are ready.

Can we catch up with America's lead?

NZIA will hopefully create new opportunities for hydrogen technology like ours. However, this will not happen by itself just because we have a new law. It is crucial that major industrial players go on the offensive, lead the way, and score the crucial goals. The EU has delivered the perfect assist with the new law.

Let’s hope it’s not too little, too late to catch up with America's lead.