The initiative is supported by Breakthrough Energy, a network of entities founded by Bill Gates, along with other technology and business leaders, to boost the transition to a clean energy future.

The efforts are believed to create half a million direct and indirect jobs across the green hydrogen value chain. This could also help the continent to secure energy autonomy by reducing its dependence on over €320bn of fossil fuel annual imports.

Green hydrogen is a proven low emission power source, with liquefied hydrogen now being considered as a potential option to meet the International Maritime Organisation’s greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 50 % by 2050.

Hydrogen is also projected to meet a quarter of the world’s energy needs by 2050, providing the industry is supported with $11tn spending on infrastructure and a $150bn subsidy kick-start, according to research organisation BloombergNEF.

EIT InnoEnergy executive board member Jacob Ruiter said: “The commercialisation of green hydrogen is absolutely vital if Europe is to achieve its ambitious goals of becoming the first net-zero continent by 2050.

“Quite simply, there is no better way of decarbonising heavy industry and heavy transport, and it can also play a significant role in supporting grid flexibility through storage.”

EGHAC promises to accelerate green hydrogen production at gigawatt scale to deliver large-scale industrial projects across Europe. It will also work collaboratively alongside existing efforts in this space to achieve Europe’s vision.

Breakthrough Energy senior director Ann Mettler said: “Building on the political momentum, the centre will use green hydrogen as a driver for the deep decarbonisation of European industry.

“Against this backdrop, it will create a pipeline of pioneering large-scale projects, launch a new generation of public-private partnerships, and accelerate the speed of delivery from mega- to gigawatts.”

The EGHAC will aim to manage several workstreams, including building connections with other industrial and energy value chains, the acceleration of technology development, and the stimulation of market growth.

Among the centre’s urgent near-term priorities is to close the price gap between carbon-emitting technologies and green hydrogen, which would drive displacement of hydrocarbons in energy intensive industrial applications.