“We see ourselves as a catalyst”

The RAG-Stiftung has been a shareholder and founding member of H2UB from the very beginning. We asked Tobias Frick, authorized representative at the RAG-Stiftung, in an interview: What is the interim conclusion after two years of H2UB and why do you support hydrogen start-ups?

Mr. Frick, why is the RAG-Stiftung supporting the H2UB?
Tobias Frick: More than two years ago, we decided to set up an innovation and start-up center in the Ruhr area. At that time, hydrogen was already an important future-oriented topic. It therefore made sense to initiate the H2UB as an innovative project. OGE and TÜV SÜD, who launched the hub together with us as co-shareholders, fitted well into the planned shareholder structure due to their connection to energy in general and hydrogen in particular. The subsequent involvement of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) as an additional shareholder confirmed that the H2UB continues to be a good fit for our start-up and founder activities.

Why does the RAG-Stiftung support start-ups?
Because we expect good investment opportunities in the long term, which contribute to the diversification of our investment portfolio. And if we can invest where we are based, then we are particularly happy to do so, since it contributes to the successful further development of the Ruhr area. The H2UB and its collaboration with BRYCK are a prime example for other start-up clusters.

What contribution do start-ups make to the ramp-up of the hydrogen economy?
An essential contribution and the start-up Greenlyte is a good example for this. It shows how well our regional ecosystem works. The local establishment of the company in Essen was only possible thanks to the intensive cooperation between the Essen Economic Development Agency, the City of Essen and the H2UB. Greenlyte recently concluded a forward-looking cooperation agreement with a Canadian company and is now planning to unlock the American market from Essen. The promotion of European start-ups therefore has a direct impact on the ramp-up of the hydrogen economy.

Do you see yourself as a first mover concerning innovation projects?
Since we are always interested in good investment opportunities, we naturally keep a close eye on innovative and sustainable business models. In my opinion, it is not crucial to be a first mover, but you should have a feel for promising trends and seize investment opportunities when they arise.

Do you see the H2UB as a funnel for promising projects?
Absolutely. With all the partners involved, the H2UB has a lot of experience and broad specialist knowledge in the relevant areas. This is essential to assess whether a project will be successful in the future.

How have you perceived the H2UB since it was founded?
We feel vindicated in our commitment. The H2UB team has already achieved a great deal in the past two years. This includes increasing awareness of the H2UB and helping to establish the entire ecosystem. The events that H2UB has organized have also been very well received and have had a wide reach. The claim “Hydrogen is Teamwork” confirms itself.

Are you being approached about your involvement with H2UB?
Yes, and especially after the HYDROVERSE CONVENTION, which is already entering its second round this year. We have received lots of positive feedback for our commitment. Furthermore, hydrogen is strongly promoted in NRW – much to our delight.

What is your role as a shareholder of H2UB?
We see ourselves first and foremost as a catalyst. We also contribute with our network and our regional business expertise. I am sure that these ingredients, coupled with the expert knowledge of the H2UB, will give the topic of hydrogen a major boost here.  


About Tobias Frick, RAG-Stiftung

Tobias Frick is responsible for innovation and start-up topics at the RAG-Stiftung, among other things. Having grown up in Münsterland, his studies brought him to Düsseldorf and his work to the Ruhr area. Before joining RAG-Stiftung, he worked at Ernst & Young in reorganization consulting and at the Haniel Group in Duisburg in various functions.
14.03.2024 / Category: Members

Get in touch

Any questions? Please contact us at