As the world moves away from fossil fuels, hydrogen is receiving a lot of attention from investors and governments. Sometimes called the “Swiss army knife” of decarbonisation, hydrogen produces three times more energy than petrol on a weight-for-weight basis while producing no carbon dioxide when burnt. But what are some hydrogen companies, and what do they do?
The companies listed below are all found in the ETFS Hydrogen ETF (ASX Code: HGEN).
One of the most famous names in the hydrogen economy, Plug Power primarily makes fuel cells that are used to turn hydrogen into energy. Their fuel cells are used in niche transport areas like electric forklifts. But the niche is quite deep. Some of Plug’s top customers include Amazon, Home Depot, and Walmart – all of which use electric forklifts in their warehouses. The company has begun expanding along the value chain and is acquiring green hydrogen producers.
Exactly as its name suggests, FuelCell Energy makes fuel cells and energy. It makes and designs fuel cells that are used at corporate headquarter or remote locations to produce power on-site. But it also uses its own fuel cells to run power plants. Most notably it runs the world’s largest clean energy power plant in South Korea, which uses hydrogen to power 135,000 homes. Perhaps more interestingly, its fuel cells are now being used for carbon capture and storage. It has partnered with ExxonMobil to use its fuel cells to remove carbon from its exhausts.
Nel ASA Is a Norwegian company that produces world-beating electrolysers at its factory in Herøya. Crucially, they build some of the most energy efficient electrolysers which solve one of the major obstacles to green hydrogen: high energy consumption. Nel is a signatory to the Green Hydrogen Manifesto, which commits companies to support green hydrogen.
Bloom Energy Group
Bloom’s bread and butter business is making a type of 15-ton steel box – called a “solid oxide” fuel cell – that turns natural gas or hydrogen into electricity. Solid oxide is widely regarded as a more efficient type of fuel cell and is used on-site by Silicon Valley giants to ensure they have electricity 24/7 to run their data centres. Some of Bloom’s biggest customers are Apple and PayPal. Bloom has begun expanding in hydrogen and is now using its steel boxes in electrolysis, which turns water into hydrogen and oxygen, to make green hydrogen. It is hoped that in the future it will use hydrogen to replace natural gas.
Doosan Fuel Cell
Arm of the Korean conglomerate Doosan, Doosan Fuel Cell has been in the news for building hydrogen powered drones, which can fly for far longer than battery powered competitors. But outside the headlines, Doosan Fuel Cell is one of the world’s largest hydrogen fuel cell makers. Its fuel cells have mostly been used on power plants. However, the company recently announced that it would be working with Ceres Power, the British hydrogen giant, to create solid oxide fuel cells for homes and businesses as well.