Ardian-backed hydrogen manager Hy24 launches growth PE fund

The Clean Hydrogen Equipment fund has a target of around €500m and will invest in technology companies supporting the ecosystem around hydrogen power, New Private Markets has learned.

Hy24, the joint venture energy transition platform between Ardian and FiveT Hydrogen, has launched its second fund, New Private Markets has learned.

The Clean Hydrogen Equipment Fund is a late-stage venture, early-growth strategy targeting technology companies supporting the ecosystem around hydrogen power, two sources familiar with the strategy told NPM. Hy24 aims to raise “around €500 million” for the fund, one source said.

Hy24 declined to comment.

The fund is headed by Guillaume Lesueur, who joined Hy24 in June. Lesueur was previously head of EDF Pulse Ventures, the French energy giant’s corporate venture capital arm.

Hy24 closed its first vehicle, Clean H2 Infra Fund, in 2022 at €2 billion, having launched in 2021 with a €1.5 billion target. It has more than 50 LPs, affiliate title Infrastructure Investor reported last year. Its LP base is comprised of both institutional heavyweights and strategic corporates: AXA, Crédit Agricole Assurances, CCR, Allianz, CDPQ, JBIC, Air Liquide, VINCI Concessions, TotalEnergies, Plug Power, Chart Industries and Baker Hughes. The fund is classified under Article 9 of the SFDR.

Clean H2 Infra Fund is the largest hydrogen-focused private fund, but a handful of fund managers have joined the fray with vehicles dedicated to this theme. Multi-family office Vedra Partners launched HyCap, a UK-focused hydrogen growth fund with a £1 billion ($276 million; €233 million) target, in 2021. German fund manager KGAL has launched a €250 million-target hydrogen infrastructure fund, our colleagues on Infrastructure Investor reported last week (registration required). Most of KGAL’s fund will be invested in hydrogen projects and companies, although it will also have capacity to invest in other clean energy sectors, II reported.

Hy24 was established with an ambition of scaling hydrogen power to “become a new energy vector” and displace imports of fossil fuel energy such as LNG, chief executive Pierre-Etienne Franc wrote in 2021: “Only when hydrogen alternatives are affordable will take-up be sufficient to reach Net Zero [globally].”

Ardian manages several climate strategies: it launched an energy transition open-end infrastructure fund with a €1 billion target last year and a nature-based fund with a €500 million target earlier this year.