France’s TotalEnergies, Air Liquide and Vinci Group are partnering several other international companies to launch what they claim will be the world’s largest “clean hydrogen” infrastructure fund.

TotalEnergies revealed on Friday that the group aims to build a €1.5 billion ($1.74 billion) fund to invest in low-carbon and renewable hydrogen infrastructure, noting that it has already received commitments totalling €800 million.

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“We believe that clean, renewable hydrogen will play a key role in the energy transition, and TotalEnergies wants to be a pioneer in its mass production,” chief executive Patrick Pouyanne said.

“We are currently working on several projects, notably to decarbonise the grey hydrogen used in our European refineries by 2030. We are convinced that a collective effort is needed to kick-start the hydrogen sector and take it to scale.”

TotalEnergies, Air Liquide and Vinci will be anchor partners, pledging to invest €100 million each, while French multinational insurance firm Axa is an anchor investor.

The fund will be managed by Hy24, a 50:50 joint venture between private investment house Ardian and clean hydrogen infrastructure financier FiveT Hydrogen.

TotalEnergies claimed the selection of Hy24 as fund manager will allow mergers of parallel initiatives and add US company Plug Power as an anchor partner, as well as Chart Industries and Baker Hughes.

It said Asian industrial group Lotte Chemical has confirmed its intention to participate as an anchor investor, while several North American and European companies — such as Groupe ADP, Ballard, EDF and Schaeffler — intend to join as non-anchor partners.

The initiative will invest across the entire value chain of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen in the Americas, Asia and Europe, in partnership with other key project developers and industry players.

“With the creation of this fund, we are demonstrating our leadership to participate in a collective dynamic to build momentum. As Air Liquide, we have already committed to invest approximately €8 billion in the low-carbon hydrogen supply chain by 2035,” said Air Liquide chief executive Benoit Potier.

“Our objective is to contribute to the development of the entire value chain, from low-carbon hydrogen production to end-uses, investing in the necessary infrastructure with storage and distribution projects. Accelerating on hydrogen development is key to mitigate climate change.”

Hy24 citied analysis by BloombergNEF indicating $100 trillion in hydrogen investments will be required to meet net zero goals by 2050.

“At a time when the European Union has announced a step up in its climate ambitions, and just ahead of COP26, it is a great responsibility to lead such a platform,” head of Ardian Infrastructure Mathias Burghardt said.

“We were early backers of the renewables market, our platform reaching 7.5 GW of heat and renewable capacity today, and it is clear to us that hydrogen is facing a similar trajectory.”

Subject to regulatory approvals, the platform is expected to be operational in late 2021, with the first closing expected this year.