Investing in Clean Hydrogen


This paper lays out a framework and process for investors to build their investment theses in clean hydrogen innovation. This framework was developed based on conversations with industry experts and a literature review that informed an analysis of a range of investment opportunities in innovations within the hydrogen value chain. The framework functions in five steps:

• Answer four key questions corresponding to various investment criteria categories; • Refine specific investment criteria based on these answers; • Rank investment criteria from highest to lowest priority; • Identify optimal investment niches by using this paper’s internally developed opportunities heatmap; • Build a clean hydrogen innovation investment thesis that targets the top-scoring niches.

With plentiful opportunities for innovative solutions for the production, storage, transportation, transformation, and utilization of clean hydrogen, investors are showing an appetite for tapping into this space. These innovations hold the promise of revolutionizing a variety of activities within the hydrogen value chain to enable its use in traditionally Greenhouse Gas emissions (GHG) intensive sectors. Yet, identifying the right opportunities within an emerging space could be challenging.

Clean hydrogen is an important lever in the decarbonization of the global economy, expected to account for roughly 10-12% of global annual energy use by 2050. To meet the levels envisioned by most global decarbonization scenarios, low-carbon hydrogen production and use in applications where it replaces a higher emitting fuel or energy source needs to grow 100 times from today’s levels by 2030. An estimated total investment of $1 trillion would be required to reach this target; yet there remains a $430 billion gap between current commitments and what’s needed. Stronger investment frameworks like the one put forth in this paper could help narrow this gap by enabling investors to deploy capital where it matters to usher in the ubiquitous use of clean hydrogen across the economy.





Miteva, Petya (2024). Investing in Clean Hydrogen. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from

Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.