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14 hydrogen production and hydrogen fuel cell stocks to watch

The hydrogen value chain, from hydrogen production to fuel cell technology, is a hot topic as the world looks to move to cleaner energy production. This article contains a list of 14 hydrogen stocks that are playing a key role in the development and utilisation of this green energy alternative.

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What makes hydrogen stocks attractive?

Hydrogen is considered a crucial element in helping countries reduce emissions from energy consumption and achieving net-zero by 2050. It’s a cheaper and greener alternative to natural gas.

In the UK, the government is committed to investing up to £4bn in hydrogen, including production facilities, between now and 2030. The aim is to produce enough hydrogen to replace fossil fuel gas for heating and cooking in around 3 million homes. The government is hoping that hydrogen will power between 25% and 30% of UK homes by 2050. In the US, President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill includes $8bn for capturing, transporting, and storing clean hydrogen.

There are various companies, big and small, working on hydrogen technologies, from hydrogen fuel cells and cars that run on them to companies that produce hydrogen. The allure of trading and investing in these stocks is in their growth potential over the long term. If hydrogen gains traction as an alternative fuel source, then these stocks could have similar potential to oil and gas companies in their infancy many decades ago.

Hydrogen stocks to watch

Toyo Engineering [6330]

The traditional way to produce hydrogen is steam reforming, where hydrocarbons react with water. Japanese firm Toyo Engineering has experience in the field of designing, licensing, and constructing steam reformers. Its activities account for more than 10% of the hydrogen produced globally. Technology developed and used by the company is said to improve the thermal efficiency of the process, and this brings with it environmental and economic benefits.

ITM Power [ITM]

Another method of producing hydrogen is electrolysis, which requires electricity and is more expensive than steam reforming – but could become cheaper over time as technologies advance and scale. This, in turn, may make electrolysis-based hydrogen production more competitive. ITM Power, a leading electrolyser manufacturer, is aiming to reduce the cost of its electrolysers by 40% over the next few years. Its existing customers and partners include transport company National Express, business group Sumitomo, carmaker Toyota, and mining business Anglo American.

Linde [LIN]

Germany-based gas and engineering company Linde is considered to be one of the leaders at the forefront of the transition to hydrogen. Linde has built and installed more than 200 hydrogen electrolysis plants and hydrogen refuelling stations and has the largest liquid hydrogen capacity and distribution system globally. At the beginning of 2021, Linde announced the world’s largest PEM (proton exchange membrane) electrolyser plant, which will go into production in the second half of 2022. The electrolyser itself will be built by ITM Power as part of a joint venture between the two companies.

Cummins [CMI]

A leader in natural gas and battery technologies, Cummins announced in May 2021 that it would be supplying one of the world’s largest electrolysers to Spain. It’s a joint venture between itself and Iberdrola to lead the hydrogen value chain in both the country and Portugal, and to scale up hydrogen production efforts in the region. Cummins also continues to grow its capabilities to support the whole hydrogen economy and uses fuel cell technologies to power several applications, including buses and trucks. At the end of 2019, Cummins acquired Hydrogenics to extend its capabilities in hydrogen fuel cells and develop new production technologies.

Powerhouse Energy Group [PHE]

Though not as scalable a process, recycling waste products into green energy is gaining traction. Powerhouse Energy Group has developed proprietary technology that can take plastic, tyres and other waste streams destined for landfills and convert them into hydrogen-based synthetic gases. In August 2021, the company announced it had signed an agreement with Hydrogen Utopia for the use of its technology in Poland, Greece and Hungary. Powerhouse Energy Group also has an agreement with Peel NRE to establish 11 waste-to-hydrogen plants across the UK over the next few years, with the option of exclusive rights for 70 facilities in total.

DuPont de Nemours [DD]

The Fortune 500-listed company is best known for its agricultural products and work with chemicals, but it has played a pivotal part in the hydrogen industry, too. It produces PEM fuel cells, which are key to helping electrolysers keep hydrogen and oxygen apart during the separation process. DuPont de Nemours first entered the fuel cell market back in 2001.

Bloom Energy [BE]

Unlike standard PEM electrolysers, those manufactured by Bloom Energy and unveiled in July can leverage both electricity and heat to produce hydrogen. When the two are integrated, the technology can use up to 45% less electricity than standard PEM electrolysers. And because it operates at high temperatures, it requires less energy to convert the water molecules into hydrogen. Bloom Energy is better known as a solid-oxide fuel cell (SOFC) solutions provider. One of the company’s goals is to decarbonise the marine industry and use its fuel cell server to power engineless tankers and ships.

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Ceres Power Holdings [CWR]

Fuel cell provider Ceres has a long-standing partnership with South Korean giant Doosan to manufacture fuel cell stacks and develop applications for the Ceres’s SOFCs – the Asian nation’s goal is to power 10% of its cities with hydrogen by the end of the decade, rising to 30% by 2040. In March 2021, Doosan announced it would be expanding into the marine industry, working with Hyundai's Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering arm to develop a SOFC-based system for hydrogen propulsion and power generation that will utilise Ceres’s technology.

AFC Energy [AFC]

The true cost of powering data centres is staggering – their carbon footprint accounts for over 2% of all global emissions, a figure which is expected to rise to 3.2% by 2025. This is why AFC Energy is looking to apply its alkaline fuel cell technology to address the challenge. Working with Swedish-Swiss firm ABB, AFC Energy plans to integrate its fuel cells into the latter’s data centre portfolio. The testing phase will use real-time data centre simulation techniques to make future power designs more sustainable and carbon-neutral to reduce running costs.

Plug Power [PLUG]

As one of the leading US developers of hydrogen fuel cell technology, Plug Power supplies fuel cells for forklifts handling products and materials to some of the county’s biggest companies, including Walmart and Home Depot. At the end of 2020, Plug Power announced a Gigafactory to build PEM fuel cell stacks and electrolysers to enable it to accelerate its manufacturing capacity. It has tapped David Mindnich, who headed operations at Tesla’s Gigafactory, as executive vice president of global manufacturing with the role of modernising and influencing its Gigafactory. The fuel cell technologies developed by Plug Power also support data centres and fleets.

Air Products [APD]

A world-leading supplier of hydrogen and hydrogen for mobility solutions, Air Products has plans to transition its global fleet of more than 2,000 trucks to run on hydrogen; Cummins will be supplying the powertrains. The pilot phase is expected to start in 2022. It’s understood the company’s technologies are used in more than 1.5 million refuellings annually across 20-plus countries. These include several refuelling stations in China, which the company has opened to support the country’s ‘Hydrogen into Ten Thousand Homes’ project, itself designed to promote the benefits and utilisation of green energy.

Ballard Power Systems [BLDP]

As a developer of hydrogen fuel cell engines, Ballard Power Systems is working to accelerate the adoption of hydrogen-powered heavy-duty vehicles. The company is currently partnering with German electric commercial vehicle specialists Quantron to bring fuel cell electric trucks to European markets. Ballard Power Systems’ clean technology will enable Quantron’s heavy-duty electric trucks to have a longer range without compromising on payload. The technology will also enable faster refuelling. The initial delivery of these trucks is scheduled for the second half of 2022. The electric truck market in Europe is growing as several countries now offer incentives on sales to encourage haulage and transportation companies to reduce their emissions.

Nikola [NKLA]

Although beleaguered by the scandal surrounding its founder, Nikola is one of the better-known companies developing hydrogen-powered trucks. In September 2021, the company entered into a strategic partnership with Bosch – a positive sign, given the relationship between the two had previously been strained, with the auto supplier reducing its shares in Nikola a year previously. The agreed partnership will see Nikola build fuel cell power modules based on technology licensed from Bosch, which are expected to launch in 2023. Nikola plans to expand its Arizona facility to improve manufacturing capacity, while it will also make investments to support fuel cell and vehicle validation and testing.

Hyzon Motors [HYZN]

Whereas most electric commercial truck makers are yet to get their vehicles on the road, Hyzon Motors, a pure-play hydrogen mobility company, is already shipping its trucks and has an extensive backlog of orders and letters of intent. The company is expecting to have delivered 85 trucks in total by the end of 2021, while expected 2022 deliveries include 70 trucks for Austrian grocery retailer MPREIS. According to analysts at JP Morgan, having the first-mover advantage means Hyzon should achieve a 10% share of the heavy-duty commercial truck market and 1% of the overall commercial EV market.

FAQS

What factors affect the price of a hydrogen stock?

Potential earnings and forecasted demand for their products is what might drive hydrogen stock prices. This is a speculative industry, so many traders and investors are placing bets based on what these companies could do, not what they have done (as may be the case when investing in an established company). Learn more about company stock analysis.

Are hydrogen stocks in a bubble?

Hydrogen stocks often see big price swings because of how speculative they are. Many don’t have earnings or are making minimal revenues or profits, and the future demand for their products is unknown. This means the price can be erratic, with large up and down movements. Short-term bubbles are commonplace as investors go through phases of excitement and disillusionment with the technology. Learn about stock market bubbles.

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