September 27, 2021 • Paul Rodden • Season: 2021 • Episode: 50
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In episode 050, UPC hydrogen acquires exclusive license in Asia Pacific region from Proton Technologies. Universal Hydrogen announces new engineering Development Center located in Toulouse, France, the heart of European aviation, the CEO of Baker Hughes discusses energy transition. All of this on today's hydrogen podcast.
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UPC hydrogen acquires exclusive license in Asia Pacific region from Proton Technologies. Universal Hydrogen announces new engineering Development Center located in Toulouse, France, the heart of European aviation, the CEO of Baker Hughes discusses energy transition. All of this on today's hydrogen podcast.
So the big questions in the energy industry today are, how is hydrogen the primary driving force behind the evolution of energy? Where is capital being deployed for hydrogen projects globally? And where are the best investment opportunities for early adopters who recognize the importance of hydrogen? I will address the critical issues and give you the information you need to deploy capital. Those are the questions that will unlock the potential of hydrogen, and this podcast will give you the answers. My name is Paul Rodden, and welcome to the hydrogen podcast.
In a press release universal hydrogen, the company leading the fight to decarbonize aviation to the adoption of hydrogen as a universal fuel announced on September 20, after an extensive search that it will locate its second engineering and design center in Toulouse, France, Europe's leading city for aviation manufacturing and innovation. The company is leasing historic hangar b 16, at Toulouse, blagnac Airport and promoted Airbus veteran Pierre Farjounel as General Manager of its European operations. Farjounel most recently served as the head of digital and continuity and information systems for Airbus's next generation of aircraft.
The center will initially focus on the development of a liquid hydrogen capsule for universal hydrogen modular storage and logistics system. As it grows through the course of 2022, The Engineering Center will also support the development of conversion kits for retrofitting regional aircraft with a hydrogen fuel cell power train, as well as development of modular hydrogen storage and technology for a single aisle, unmanned aerial vehicles and other applications. Decarbonizing aviation and a timeframe to meet Paris Agreement targets, The importance of which has been further underscored by the recent and devastating IPCC report demands a global effort, including the best and brightest aviation has to offer. This is according to Farjounel, we have come to Toulouse because of its resources. Its engineering talent, suppliers and manufacturing base, as well as its spirit of innovation. They are unparalleled. We warmly welcome the decision of universal hydrogen to set up an engineering and design center in Toulouse since it will contribute to the ongoing development of zero carbon aviation and hydrogen energy production.
This according to Carole Delga, President of the Occitanie Region, the deployment of hydrogen is a priority for the Occitanie region, which recently launched a green hydrogen development plan for the period 2019 to 2030. With a budget of about 150 million euros. Universal hydrogen will benefit from a unique ecosystem that the occitanie region to further develop its expertise and become a key global player in the effort to decarbonize aviation. And according to Philippe Crébassa, Chairman of the Board of Toulouse-Blagnac Airport, it strengthens atbs position at the forefront of innovation for carbon free aviation. With the high point station hydrogen will be real at Toulouse airport by the end of this year, and we look forward to partnering with universal hydrogen to leverage exciting synergies. Universal hydrogen has deep connections to the Toulouse region. The company's co founder and CEO Paul Eremenko formerly served as Airbus's Chief Technology Officer, leading a variety of electrification and decarbonisation initiatives.
Mark Cousin, universal hydrogen CTO served as technical director for the Airbus Beluga XL program and subsequently as Senior Vice President for flight demonstrators. Tom Enders, former Airbus CEO and John Leahy, former Airbus chief Commercial Officer, both serve on universal hydrogens strategic advisory board. In addition Toulouse, universal hydrogen continues to work with other regions in France, as well as Germany and the Netherlands to further accelerate its engineering and manufacturing capabilities. In May of 2021, the company was one of 11 winners of the Paris regions h2 hub airport competition sponsored by Airbus, ADP group and Air France KLM and is working to develop a full scale hydrogen aviation demonstration, as well as a regional service center in the Paris region by the end of next year.
The company takes a unique approach by focusing on the entire value chain necessary to enable hydrogen powered aviation, including providing hydrogen fuel services to airline customers, as well as introducing the first commercially relevant hydrogen aircraft in a passenger service in 2025. Through the retrofit of conversions of dash eight and ATR 72 Regional aircraft, Iceland air and Raven Alaska and Spain's Air Nostrum have signed letters of intent with universal hydrogen to convert portions of their existing and future fleets to hydrogen power, and to enter into long term hydrogen fuel supply contracts using universal hydrogen modular fuel distribution network.
The company completed series A investment round earlier in the year led by prominent Silicon Valley venture fund Playground Global, with an investor syndicate comprised of Airbus Ventures, Global Founders Capital, Plug Power, Fortescue Future Industries, Coatue, JetBlue Technology Ventures, Toyota Ventures, and Sojitz Corporation. So this is good news for both the aviation industry and the hydrogen industry, as it looks at tackling several problems at once, the first being to decarbonize the aviation industry. And since battery technology isn't suited for aviation, the best choices right now are hydrogen or Fischer–Tropsch's fuels, with the two are not necessarily competing against each other, but rather complementing each other as they tackle different size aircraft.
Next, in an interview with CNBC, the CEO of Baker Hughes lays out quote unquote hard truth behind the energy transition as gas prices surge. The CEO of energy technology firm Baker Hughes has outlined what he feels are key points related to the energy transition, amid deepening concern about the rising gas prices and the knock on effects this would have in the months ahead. And in an interview with CNBC Dan Murphy at the GasTech Conference in Dubai. Earlier this week, Lorenzo Simonelli was asked whether soaring gas prices were likely to be transitory, or if he expected wider implications for consumers, markets and the broader economy. Simonelli said, I think a lot of people are seeing what's happening in Europe. And it's bringing to light the important discussion around the energy transition, and the importance that we have around gas as well. It was still too early to see if prices would remain high, or if this rise was transitory He said. Benchmark European gas prices have jumped over 250% since the start of the year. This is according to a Reuters report earlier this week. The reasons for the spike are varied.
The IEA said on Tuesday, that surging European gas prices had been driven by a combination of strong recovery in demand and tighter than expected supply, as well as several weather related factors. These include a particularly cold and long heating season in Europe last winter, and lower than usual availability of wind energy in recent weeks. IEA executive director Fatih Birol, said given that the reasons behind the price rise are multifaceted, it would be quote, inaccurate and misleading to lay the responsibility at the door of the clean energy transition. Regardless, the effect of gas price rise is already being felt on the ground. In the UK, for example, it has caused a number of small energy suppliers to go bust. We need energy security, again, according to Baker Hughes Simonelli, and look, there's plenty of gas around the world, there's plenty of energy available, he added, it's a question of bringing it to the market.
On the energy transition, a term referring to a move from hydrocarbons to ones such as solar and wind, Simonelli sought to highlight a number of issues he felt were important. We think there are three hard truths, he said, firstly, we've got to work together, accelerate the move towards decarbonisation, and also eliminating emissions. Secondly, hydrocarbons are here to stay and natural gas, in fact, is a key element. And thirdly, we've got to do it together, collaborate and actually adopt new technologies that are available. Burning hydrocarbons, such as oil and gas is the chief driver of the climate emergency. And despite policymakers and business leaders repeatedly touting their commitment to net zero strategies, the world's hydrocarbon dependency is expected to get even worse in the coming decades. But what about the role of natural gas, the current crisis surrounding the price of gas is reinforced its continuing significance, even as major economies such as UK, European Union and the US outline plans to move away from hydrocarbons in the years ahead. Indeed, in its statement, Tuesday, the IEA said gas remained an important tool for balancing electricity markets in many regions today.
And again, quoting the IEA, as clean energy transitions advanced on a path towards net zero emissions, global gas demand will start to decline, but it will remain an important component of electricity security. In his interview with CNBC, Simonelli was asked about the role of gas would play in the race to netzero. He said, you just have to look at Europe and look at the United States with regards to the way we've been successful in the last decades to actually reduce their co2 emissions. He continues by saying you've seen the shift from coal to natural gas and that's going to continue as you look at it from an emissions profile, so you can reduce the footprint of natural gas from an admission standpoint is already one of the most efficient fuels and we think it's here to stay. So some very interesting points surrounding this Interview with Baker Hughes. Natural gas and hydrocarbons are a critical component of the world's energy supply.
And the energy transition does not mean that one day we will just turn off hydrocarbons and then turn on renewable electricity. It doesn't work that way. But what Simonelli said here, and I agree with is that we all have to work together and develop new technologies to utilize what we have right now to make it cleaner. Hydrogen is the best answer to that right now. Because also keep in mind, the same technology that can transition hydrocarbons to hydrogen is the same technology that can transition renewable natural gas and solid waste to hydrogen also, but it's the continued investment in those technologies that will make them smaller and more efficient and easier to distribute throughout the world. And lastly, in a press release, big news that UPC hydrogen acquires exclusive license in Asia Pacific region from proton technologies.
UPC hydrogen is pleased to announce that it has acquired the exclusive license to produce hydrogen from technology developed by proton technologies for a selection of countries in the Asia Pacific region. UPC hydrogen is an affiliate of renewables Asia Pacific holdings, a private company with eight gigawatts of wind, solar and storage in development under construction or in operation across the Asia Pacific region. The licensed countries include Indonesia, Vietnam, Australia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Mongolia and Myanmar. UPC hydrogen believes that the proton technology can produce hydrogen in these countries at a price of less than $1 per kilogram from New plugged abandoned or uneconomic oil wells, especially heavy oil wells, whilst keeping any carbon from being emitted from the wells. The technology could provide low cost carbon free power in areas that are less rich in natural renewable sources than most countries and have severe shortage of suitable land due to competing issues.
Steven Zwaan director of UPC hydrogen said, when we first visited protons production site in Canada in early 2020, our pre COVID view was excitement about both the potential to load balance renewable weighted grids with baseload hydrogen, but also the longer term prospect of an electricity cost potential lower than wind and solar. Now the world is very attuned to the benefits of saving money while deeply decarbonizing using hydrogen without emitting carbon to surface. There's no need for fresh water for this process and the ecological disturbance is limited to existing infrastructure. Grant Strem, Chairman and CEO of proton added UPC has been an early and critical supporter in the advancement of this transformative technology. We are delighted to work with UPC hydrogen, and assist as they and we both proliferate this important extremely clean technology. So great news to proton, and well done to UPC for acquiring this license. And I wish you much success going forward.
Alright, that's it for me everyone. you have any questions, comments or concerns about today's episode, come and visit me at my website at thehydrogenpodcast.com, and let me know. I'd really love to hear from you. And as always, take care. Stay safe. I'll talk to you later.
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.