Commercial rather than technology barriers – and understanding how to value green molecules – present the biggest hurdles to a large-scale global renewable hydrogen sector, said the CEO of newly-formed Siemens Energy.

Christian Bruch said non-technical challenges in areas such as regulation and standards are also “not to be underestimated” as the world looks to scale-up H2 produced from renewable sources as a key element of the energy transition.

“We have the technology available, we can do a lot of things, but the commercial models are today not appropriately working.

“If you try to compete with a green hydrogen molecule against black hydrogen you will fail, in many cases,” Bruch told an online event debating the future of H2 organised by the Atlantic Council.

The ability to “understand how to value a green hydrogen molecule in the end product, whether it be the steel, the chemical, or whatever” is key to helping the sector achieve “volume, volume, volume” and get costs down, said Bruch.

Siemens Energy – newly-formed to hold the energy-related assets of the German industrial giant, including its majority stake in wind OEM Siemens Gamesa – has a role along “the whole value chain of hydrogen production”, said Bruch, making one of his first public appearances since Siemens shareholders approved the spin-off of the new company last week.

Bruch joined to lead Siemens Energy from his former job as executive vice president at industrial gases group Linde.

He said the only firm predictions he would make for the energy sector is that “renewables will be bigger” and transmission will be an increasingly large challenge, as centres of generation and consumption grow further apart.

The Siemens Energy boss also reckons gas will play an important role for some time to come.

“It would be unrealistic to believe that 10 years from now we will be completely renewable,” said Bruch.