February 07, 2022 • Paul Rodden • Season: 2022 • Episode: 88
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In episode 088, The hydrogen fuel cell market is picking up steam. One of the largest midstream companies in the United States is getting into hydrogen and Bloomberg talks hydrogen infrastructure in the Netherlands. All of this on today's hydrogen podcast.
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The hydrogen fuel cell market is picking up steam. One of the largest midstream companies in the United States is getting into hydrogen and Bloomberg talks hydrogen infrastructure in the Netherlands. 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 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 an article from inside EVs com Mark Kane writes us hydrogen fuel cell car sales rebounded in 2021. hydrogen fuel cell cars and alternative zero emission solution for battery electric cars made us skeptical since the early beginning due to a variety of issues being the price of the car, overall energy efficiency, and lack of refueling infrastructure to name the three major ones.
As years passed by let's take a look at the sales results of hydrogen fuel cell cars. Has there been any progress? The year 2020 It was pretty weak for fuel cell EVs as only 937 were sold which is down 55% from the previous year. This is according to California fuel cell partnership. In 2021. Things got better and not only did fuel cell EVs returned to growth but achieved a new record level of 3341 which is up 257%. Year over year. This growth rate is high, but it's always easy from a low base, the volume although at a record high it remains very low. And now more than 100 times behind battery electric cars which are sold at a rate of several 100,000 per year in the United States. The growth in 2021 is associated mostly with the push from Toyota and also Hyundai. Toyota Mirai specifically noted 2629 sales in the US, which is 427% more than a year ago. It's also nearly 79% of the total fuel cell EV. segment. As of January 31 2022, the number of open retail hydrogen stations in California stood at 48, which is just five or 12% more than a year ago, January 20 2021. 12 new stations are under construction though.
A quick calculation reveals that there are 256 cars per single station cumulative sales divided by the number of stations. Although it might be much less if some of the early cars removed from service. The viability of fuel cell EVs remains doubtful and the tremendous progress of the mainstream battery electric vehicles the race might be already over. In these early days at least there were concerns about battery EV ranges, charging times and fast charging infrastructure. But today, with many 200 to 300 mile battery, electric vehicles and 1000s of charging stations, those issues are gradually being solved. Okay, so some interesting numbers and a look inside the fuel cell electric vehicle market. And also keep in mind these numbers are mainly in California, which is where the bulk of the infrastructure for hydrogen refueling stations is located. But really what I see now with the fuel cell electric vehicle market is where battery technology was 15 to 20 years ago. And while the three issues that Mark Kane pointed out in this article are valid, including the price of the car, energy efficiency and lack of refueling infrastructure, really, there's only one of those issues that are relevant, but I'll also add in another issue that should be taken into account. The lack of refueling infrastructure is a big one.
But there are more things coming on the horizon including the Nextera, Daimler partnership, building out the infrastructure throughout the United States, and modular units that can be set up to generate hydrogen at the utilization site. Put those two things together and a refueling infrastructure can be developed rather quickly. The other piece of this pie in my opinion is design. Elon Musk cracked the code with Tesla because his cars looked good, performed amazingly well and were a technological masterpiece on the software side. Now from everything that I've heard the Toyota Mirai is a fine car, it drives fine and handles fine but to make the fuel cell EV consumer market really explode will require Tesla level innovation. Next and a press release from EQT leading companies Launch Initiative to support low carbon and hydrogen industrial hub in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. EQT Corporation Equinor GE Gas Power Marathon Petroleum including its affiliate MPLX Mitsubishi Power, Shell Polymers and U. S. Steel have formed a new alliance that will play an important leadership role in decarbonizing the industrial base in the northern Appalachian region of the United States. The Alliance will work with stakeholders on a shared vision for a low carbon and hydrogen industrial hub in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, that can be a national model for sustainable energy and production systems. Effective implementation of this industrial hub and its associated infrastructure development could generate 1000s of new jobs, protect current jobs, and help achieve significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.
The Hub concept will include a focus on carbon capture, utilization and storage, as well as hydrogen production and utilization. This large scale regional approach will require new levels of public private partnerships across borders and sectors. The Alliance is working to establish a collaborative network to directly engage industry, labor, universities, communities, government, research institutions, nonprofit organizations and other groups in these efforts. The northern Appalachian region brings tremendous assets from world class universities and national laboratories to deep rooted industrial capabilities with key strengths in manufacturing materials and energy. All of this is supported by the region's highly skilled and experienced workforce, as well as a strong and growing startup ecosystem. This industry led Alliance and network brings the knowledge, scale and relationships to make this transformative opportunity a reality.
As this alliance engages key stakeholders in the coming weeks, participants will work on defining the vision for plans for a regional CCUS hydrogen hub that can drive economic resurgence and technical innovation, secure industrial jobs and attract new companies and investments to the region. The Alliance is being facilitated by IN-2-Market, a regional nonprofit organization that will coordinate alliance's activities and engagements with regional stakeholders. Okay, so a monster Alliance for the northeastern part of the United States. Now, these are absolutely monster companies going in together on this hub. And I can't wait to see more news on this hub and how it develops. I'm also very curious to see how they're going to utilize and or secure the carbon that's captured. And I'm assuming that because US Steel is a part of this, they'll be utilizing most if not all of the hydrogen at first. But then again, with these juggernaut companies coming together, they could be producing a lot of hydrogen. So for now, we'll just have to wait until this project develops further to actually know where this hydrogen is going to be utilized.
And lastly, in an article from bloomberg.com, Vanessa Dezem writes, The Netherlands is retrofitting pipelines to transport hydrogen, a risky strategy given the fuel isn't expected to be cost competitive before 2030 The Netherlands is throwing a hydrogen life preserver to pipelines that are on the brink of becoming stranded assets. The nation will end most natural gas production this year, forcing NV Netherlands and Gasunie to find alternative uses for its 15,000 kilometers of pipes. The state owned company is studying which segments of its wide network to adapt to transport produce and store hydrogen over the next decade as the European Union seeks to green its economy. Home to what was once Europe's biggest gas field, the Netherlands decided to shut production at Groningen after decades of exploration and pumping triggered earthquakes.
Demand will taper off as well, since the government pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by almost half this decade. That leaves Gasunie with as much as 9321 miles of pipe to either fill it with an alternative, idle or dismantle. According to Gasunie CEO Han Fennema. The Netherlands will need hydrogen it will have to move away from natural gas there is no other way. And while 80% of the nation's energy needs are met by hydrocarbons, the domestic industry is no more than an economic blip. Government revenue from natural gas dropped to 140 million euros in 2020 Compared to 10.7 billion euros a decade before this according to national statistics. The country is also losing much of Royal Dutch Shell, which is relocating to London after court ordered it to speed up emissions cuts and the largest pension fund said it was selling holdings in hydrocarbon producers plus pollution is becoming more expensive. With Europe's benchmark carbon contracts setting records, further increases are expected during winter.
Just as a continent grapples in an energy crisis pushing gas prices even higher. All of that makes alternative sources such as hydrogen more attractive and eventually more competitive. By 2050, the green hydrogen produced with renewable energy will be cheaper than gas and at least 16 countries, including three in Europe. This according to Bloomberg NEf, clean hydrogen could meet a quarter of the world's energy needs by 2050, with annual sales reaching 630 billion euros or $714 billion. This according to the European Commission, Europe wants to build 40 gigawatts of green hydrogen capacity by 2030. About double that of China's Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest energy plant. Now hydrogen either no emission green or low emission blue is the continents principal remedy for sectors such as heavy industry and transportation that are a few alternatives to hydrocarbons and can't rely solely on electrification. The Netherlands sees itself as the carrier that's a long term view since Green hydrogen isn't expected to be cost competitive before 2030. Currently, production is about four times more expensive than natural gas in most countries, this is according to BloombergNEF.
So remodeled sections of pipeline could lay idle for years, waiting for the economics to level out. The master plan envisions connecting offshore hydrogen production sites in the North Sea, with updated port facilities, piping the fuel to industrial centers or exporting it. The company is earmarking 1.5 billion euros to convert 1200 kilometers of pipe to receive pure hydrogen by 2027. The government is paying half to help cover potential risks, and has indicated it could offer more support if needed.
As much as 80% of the system eventually could be renovated. The UK may repurpose about 25% of its gas pipelines to create a 2000 Kilometer backbone for hydrogen in Germany two transmission operators propose using existing pipeline to create a hydrogen hub in the east. Okay, so the Netherlands finally forcing itself to transition away from burning natural gas. And well this article focuses mainly on renewable hydrogen, the country is well positioned for hydrocarbon derived hydrogen as natural gas in the area is plentiful, which as we all know, is available at a much lower price point. So with that being said, I don't think the situation in the Netherlands is quite as drastic as this article makes it out, especially since the Netherlands has been planning on this transition for some time.
Alright, that's it. For me, everyone who have any questions, comments or concerns about today's episode, come visit me at my website at thehydrogenpodcast.com. Or you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would 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.