The transition away from costly, polluting fossil fuels is a defining challenge of our time. In order to address climate change and advance the European Green Deal, we must step up our work to find alternatives to oil and gas.


Germany identified a clean-energy solution through the National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology. Hydrogen fuel cell technologies provide a way to make vehicles more environmentally-friendly, only releasing water instead of greenhouse gases and other emissions.

While hydrogen technologies do exist today and have been deployed in certain countries, there are several bumps in the road to large-scale adoption. One problem is the question of refuelling infrastructure. People will be reluctant to buy hydrogen-powered vehicles if they cannot easily refuel them. Conversely, refuelling station operators are unlikely to invest if too few hydrogen vehicles are on the roads. The result is a chicken-and-egg situation.

To help overcome this issue and speed up developments in the sector, the German Transport Ministry stepped in. Understanding the positive benefits alternative fuels have on public health and the environment, the ministry decided to help develop hydrogen refuelling stations across Germany. This is a large and complex project, so the ministry leveraged the efforts of a private consortium, H2 Mobility Germany, and provided public funding to support the initial deployment of hydrogen refuelling stations.


The ministry approached the Advisory Hub for help in designing a delivery and financing model for this next phase of network expansion. Using the Bank’s significant experience in supporting European Union policies, providing infrastructure investment and finding financing in areas that lack private sector support, the Advisory Hub brought together a team of experts (combining innovation finance, public-private partnerships and sector expertise) to help Germany develop this project. The Advisory Hub identified several public-private partnerships options that could help the hydrogen refuelling plan. 

Germany's road to clean and sustainable mobility


The Hub analysed the ministry’s objectives and constraints as well as the market conditions.

With this advice, the ministry can now make informed decisions on how to best deliver and finance the project. This helps ensure that public funds will be spent efficiently and that the network rollout and services will be a success.

Transport plays an essential role in modern societies. Having good transport helps us get to work with less stress, do shopping easily and transport goods in the fastest and most efficient manner. To make transport sustainable, we must keep finding cleaner technologies. By joining forces with the Advisory Hub, this will assist the ministry in taking the next steps.