Paul Rodden • Season: 2023 • Episode: 254
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In episode 254, Today I review an article highlighting three companies driving hydrogen adoption. Who are they? And why should we take notice? I'll go over all of this on today's hydrogen podcast.
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Today I review an article highlighting three companies driving hydrogen adoption. Who are they? And why should we take notice? I'll go over all of this on today's hydrogen podcast.
Okay, I'm going to actually skip the intro today so we can listen to a quick word from the sponsor of today's podcast.
From water electolyzers to flow batteries and fuel cells, Nafion™ Proton Exchange Membranes play a major role in advancing the Hydrogen Economy. Through their high conductivity, superior strength, and chemical durability, Nafion™ membranes provide the performance needed to make green hydrogen safer, more sustainable, and more affordable. Learn how Nafion™ ion exchange materials support the decarbonization of energy across the globe at www.nafion.com.
Now back to the show. In an article in stockhead.com Bevis Yeo writes, hydrogen is still very much a part of the net zero push. Here's some companies with plans to drive its adoption. Hydrogen has long been touted as one of the key planks in the green bridge that will take us towards net zero emissions by replacing hydrocarbons and enabling hard to abate industries, such as chemicals and steelmaking to slash emissions. But while solar and other renewables have made significant headway globally, the apparent slowdown in Australian grid scale projects not withstanding the progress made by hydrogen has been comparatively muted. Billionaire Mike Cannon-Brooke winning the battle for control of the Sun Cable project has taken the potential for a giant hydrogen development proposed by fellow billionaire Andrew Forrest off the table, while the going has been slow on the giant 2.2GW Central Queensland Hydrogen Project (CQ-H2) that is supposed to start production in 2028.
Other sizeable projects such as the Western Green Hydrogen Hub and the Australia Renewable Energy Hub are also some time away from becoming reality. That’s not to say that no progress has being made. The Australian federal government and South Australian government recently committed to providing the Port Bonython hydrogen hub near Whyalla, South Australia, with a total of $100m in funding whilst the NSW state government agreed to pony up $45m for Origin Energy’s (ASX:ORG) Hunter Valley hydrogen hub on Koorangang Island. However, junior ASX companies operating in the hydrogen space believe that the key towards building a hydrogen ecosystem is take what is essentially a bottom-up approach, first building up local demand for the green gas before expanding to greater things – such as export. Speaking to Stockhead, Pure Hydrogen (ASX:PH2) managing director Scott Brown expressed his belief that large-scale adoption of hydrogen would occur in heavy transport, buses, shipping and possibly aviation. He is quoted as saying, While battery-electric is good for certain areas, particularly smaller applications – like passenger cars, once you start carrying big loads, it is very difficult to power up a big truck and that’s where hydrogen comes in.
Effectively you can still run on an electric platform and have all the advantages that platform offers, the hydrogen and the fuel cell will essentially generate the electricity for you. It just extends range or grants more power to do things. He also says A good example will be something like a garbage truck, which needs to travel around, pick up garbage bins at every household and then compact it. The arm and contractor use a lot of energy which is very difficult to do if you're using batteries. All of the trials that we've done using batteries in Australia have failed. He also says a hydrogen fuel cell will give it much more power and be able to cart the truck around and perform those tasks. Brown also believes that Pure Hydrogen has the right approach towards succeeding in the hydrogen space and that’s by providing customised solutions to customers.
“We have solutions we can offer large corporates, the top 500, local and state governments, and depending on what their requirements are we can cater and tailor for the specific requirements of the customer,” he said. “The good thing is when you sell a truck or bus, inevitably people want to know that they can get hydrogen to power them and provide maintenance. “We can supply both the hydrogen and the maintenance.” Besides offering a range of hydrogen fuel cell trucks and buses, the company also has plans to produce hydrogen using its methane pyrolysis technology that will decompose methane into hydrogen and solid carbon without any carbon dioxide emissions. “Just like Macdonald’s have a value meal, we have a value meal for hydrogen products,” Brown added. “It is all packaged up, they don’t have to go anywhere else, it is an easy solution for them.” This approach certainly seems to be paying dividends for the company.
In the last couple of months, it has executed a terms sheet with waste management company Solo Resource Recovery for the supply of a HFC powered waste collection vehicle for a six-month trial, adding to a previous trial agreement with JJ Richards Waste. And Brown believes that the hydrogen sector is poised to grow exponentially. “You are already seeing plants going in. I think next year, we hope to have our own production of hydrogen, then a lot of other players in the industry are also talking about having production,” he said. ‘We have trucks and buses that are available now, people can order them and they will certainly be in use in Australia. “You will see a lot more of them next year and then, it will snowball once people start accepting that this is a good way of doing it, not just reducing your emissions but you also benefit from a number of very good attributes.” Pure Hydrogen might be seeing success with its approach, but it certainly isn’t the only ASX listed junior with ambitious hydrogen plans.
Frontier Energy (ASX:FHE) is focused on advancing its Waroona solar energy project, which has all major permits, approvals and a connection to the WA electricity network already in place, towards being ‘shovel-ready’ before the end of this year. Stage 1 development of the project will seek to deliver 120MW of power into the grid though approved connections are in place to take this up to 355MW. Total grid connection capacity is much higher at 1.1GW. However, the company also has plans to make a splash in the hydrogen sector with a study underway into the development of a peaking plant that will be the first consumer of the green hydrogen production proposed under its Definitive Feasibility Study. The DFS has proposed the construction of a 72MW electrolyser (in 36MW building blocks) that would fully use the quantum of energy produced by the solar farm. Hydrogen produced when the sun is strongest – and when wholesale energy prices are at the lowest – could be stored and use in the peaking plant when demand for electricity is at its highest (and when the realised price tends to be the highest).
Peaking plants are a mature technology that can be switched on at short notice to provide power at peak demand times, providing stability to the grid whilst allowing green hydrogen to fuel the plant rather than natural gas. Adding further interest, this also gives the company the option to offtake hydrogen to other potential users. Meanwhile, BPH Energy (ASX:BPH) has increased its stake in Clean Hydrogen Technologies up to 17.5%. The US company is developing its own in-house solution to generate a clean hydrogen product and solid carbon for batteries with no CO2 emissions from natural gas. Okay, so a great look at the internal thought processes of pure hydrogen.
There have been a handful of other entities with similar goals of both developing hydrogen trucks as well as generating hydrogen. Nikola comes to mind with Hyla I think this is a great strategy to drive both supply and demand while de risking capital that maybe you leery of jumping into the hydrogen game out of hydrogen supply issues. But to me, what really drives the point in this article are the quotes from Scott Brown as to why hydrogen is the best answer, at least in terms of garbage trucks. The added work these vehicles have to do on a daily basis on top of driving just highlights the necessity to transition to hydrogen fuel cell power. Along with that thought process, their insight into how to provide different solutions for a wide variety of customers is just another avenue to de risk these projects. And these de risking pathways have led to two six month trials. Now you may not think that two trials may not be that big of a deal.
These processes take time to develop with multiple hurdles to clear on the regulatory checklist for garbage trucks, along with that is locking down long term trials of which they now have two, and I'd be willing to bet that there are several more coming in the near future. The other two companies briefly covered in the article, Frontier energy, and BPH energy are definitely two operators that deserve attention. Frontier has been making great strides on the renewables front. But focusing on a hydrogen for peak power demand is the perfect low hanging fruit that all renewable operators need to look into. But obviously, this utilization isn't just for normal peak power demand. But also during times when renewables just aren't generating enough power, whether due to lack of wind or excessive cloud cover.
And a great example of one of these projects to view as a template will be the ACES project. Now BPH energy increasing their stake in clean hydrogen technologies gets me excited. As you all know, I very much like methane pyrolysis as a hydrogen generation technology. Just this week, I fielded several questions around a few companies are developing this tech and my hope is that with research and development ramping up, we'll begin to hopefully see project startup costs drop is that's the big drawback to methane pyrolysis.
I also expect to see the solid carbon market grow significantly in the next decade. And that's going to drive up demand for products such as graphene, carbon fiber and carbon nanotubes. So the growth in that market will have a direct positive impact on methane pyrolysis.
All right. That's it for me, everyone. If you have a second, I would really appreciate it. If you could leave a good review on whatever platform it is that you listen to Apple podcasts, Spotify, Google, YouTube, whatever it is, that would be a tremendous help to the show. And as always, if you ever have any feedback, you're welcome to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. So until next time, keep your eyes up and honor one another.
Hey, this is Paul. I hope you liked this podcast. If you did and want to hear more. I'd appreciate it if you would either subscribe to this channel on YouTube, or connect with your favorite platform through my website at www.thehydrogenpodcast.com. Thanks for listening. I very much appreciate it. Have a great day.