March 17, 2022 • Paul Rodden • Season: 2022 • Episode: 99
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In episode 099, EV stocks coming in big and some hydrogen insights from CERAWeek. All this on today’s hydrogen podcast.
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EV stocks coming in big and some hydrogen insights from ceraweek. All 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 an article from forbes.com Alan Ohnsman writes hydrogen truck maker Nikola leads EV stock rally as Biden cuts off Russian oil. Nikola, which aims to replace diesel fueled semis with trucks powered by batteries and hydrogen was one of the biggest stock market gainers Tuesday March 8. Among electric vehicle makers after President Joe Biden said the US was cutting off imports of Russian oil because of its invasion of Ukraine. Shares of Phoenix base Nikola rose about 14% to close at $7.55 in NASDAQ trading, as did Ballard Power, the maker of fuel cells that convert hydrogen into electricity. Norway’s Nel which makes electrolyzers that produce hydrogen surged 17% Tesla, the world’s most valuable automaker gain two and a half percent, while newer makers of battery powered autos, including Fisker and Lucid also gained.
Similarly, engine maker Cummins, which is developing hydrogen powered systems. For truck manufacturers it supplies Rose 1.8%. In New York trading beyond mobility companies, investors appear to be shifting broadly to renewable power stocks amid spiking oil prices. This according to Jeffrey Osborne, an equity analyst for Cowen. Hydrogen particularly for trucking may benefit from that volatility in a quote from Osborne to Forbes, with elevated diesel prices and a focus on more renewable power around the world. That opens the door for green hydrogen in a bigger way. The math could more easily pencil out on hydrogen, given the increase in diesel pricing around the world. Any bet on Nikola at this point is a longer term investment, as the company won’t yet begin commercial production of hydrogen-fuel Tre FCEV trucks until 2023. In February, it began hauling beer for Anheuser Busch in Los Angeles. With two prototype vehicles the company says can’t go more than 500 miles between fuelings.
Aside from the cost of high powered fuel cell systems and storage tanks. The supply of hydrogen made from low or no carbon sources such as water or renewable power remains in short supply. Nikola Cummins and other companies have announced plans to boost production of the clean fuel, but that will take a year or more to begin scaling up. The price of global Benchmark Brent crude oil traded about $130 per barrel on Tuesday, after Biden said the US was holding imports from Russian oil. The average US price of a gallon of regular gasoline rose about 11 cents to $4.17. This is according to triple A. The price spiked even higher in California where motorists are paying an average of $5.44 a gallon. Now even since those numbers were put out, it’s gained even more. Now gains for Nikola and EV makers is a knee jerk reaction in this backdrop of a four plus dollar gasoline, but EV demand will clearly accelerate this environment. This is according to Dan Ives, an equity analyst for Wedbush Securities. He continues for hydrogen players in this geopolitical situation. This should accelerate adoption. Now shares of electric vehicle companies have also fallen sharply this year with Tesla off 33% through Monday’s close and Nikola down 35%. These stocks are way oversold according to Ives. And there is some bargain hunting after the massive sell off. Okay, so some really good insight now about the stock situation that’s playing out in the energy transition space and transportation with a turmoil going on in Eastern Europe.
And what this tells me is yes, this is a knee jerk reaction to the commodity pricing for oil and gas because of this turmoil in Eastern Europe. But it also showcases to me that there is now an opportunity in this space for people to take their money which was an oil and gas and transfer it into the energy transition. And while in recent years, there has been that opportunity with Tesla, there is now much more opportunity with Cummins and Fisker and Lucid, Nikola and Hyzon. What this also continues to showcase is just how volatile oil and gas commodity pricing can be, especially when war ramps up in an OPEC nation. And the truth is hydrogen in these situations is a good way to de risk your investment if commodity price volatility is something that you’re concerned about. Next in an article from freight waves.com John Kingston writes hydrogens future decide in uses and supply will follow. On opening day of what is probably the world’s leading Energy Conference hydrogen took center stage, with one presenter citing transportation as a potential market to lead its growth. The CERAWEEK conference now owned by s&p global and operated by its commodity insights division had multiple sessions Monday during which hydrogens future as part of what is known as the energy transition was widely touted. The section of the conference known as Agora had a hydrogen hub, set up front and center.
The formal as well as informal hydrogen focused sessions took place there all day long to heavy crowds. A message that came through repeatedly in several sessions that was focusing on creating hydrogen supply had it backwards. Instead, it was argued that the path to making hydrogen a significant fuel as part of the future energy transition to a world of cleaner fuels is to establish more uses for it first, and the supply will follow and a quote from Marco Alvera, the CEO of Snam, I think hydrogen is better suited for heavy industry and heavy transportation. And the mass deployment will come later probably Alvera, the was on a panel with a title that largely summed up a lot of the conversations heard over the course of the day, will hydrogen deliver and when Snam’s primary activity is the construction of energy infrastructure. Now hydrogen in Europe is now about $100 per megawatt hour and oil is about 80 to 90 per megawatt hour, while US natural gas, which has not run up anywhere near the surge in other fuels is about $20 per kilowatt hour. But European natural gas which already was in short supply before the Russian invasion of Ukraine is up to about $300 a kilowatt hour. Green hydrogen, which in this case is produced entirely from renewable fuels would now be priced around $100 per megawatt hour.
This again, according to Alvera, that compared to German power prices, which he compared close to $480 per megawatt hour. The member of the panel who has the most hydrogen experience was Samir Serhan, the COO of Air Products, which has long been a producer of industrial hydrogen, government policy toward the various technologies that can be used to produce hydrogen should be quote, agnostics Serhan said, and that policy should quote be more focusing on promoting in market use, but even through the message that was hydrogens growth, it should come more through developing in use markets for it. The technology needed to produce it was a focus of much of the discussion. Bill Newsom, the President and CEO of Mitsubishi power Americas said a key goal should be to reduce the cost of the electrolyzers that separate water and produce the standalone hydrogen. Now one way is to begin standardizing the electrolyzers, which Newsom said are now mostly bespoke, and without much standardization Alvera described the current array of electrolyzer technology as quote, the difference between handmade boots and factory made boots, the cost curve can come down just using existing technology. One specific government sponsored demand booster that came in for praise by Serhan was the California low carbon fuel standard, which incentivizes the use of low carbon fuels such as hydrogen, or renewable diesel.
By allowing the use of those fuels to generate credits that can be sold to companies failing to meet the Low Carbon targets. Serhan said that by promoting the use of hydrogen demand is generated and as supply rises to meet that demand, quote, the production costs naturally will go down. A company’s desire to be seen as environmentally conscious is also a boost. Alvera said that some companies will give SNAM a somewhat vague command to, quote just take away from my co2 costs, but others are more specific. He added, citing an ice cream manufacturing company that wanted its co2 emissions reduced enough that it could boast of its environmental achievements in its marketing. To do that, however, green hydrogen would be required in the manufacturing process, as opposed to Blue hydrogen, which is produced from natural gas and carbon capture and sequestration, or gray, which is the same situation without any carbon capture sequestration.
But Serhan said something else was going to be needed government standards for when a company can claim to have a carbon footprint low enough to justify some sort of low emissions labeling on their products. But even if the focus of the panelists was on creating demand, the question of supplying the infrastructure for the hydrogen economy kept popping up. Alvera raised the specter of Western nations repeating the mistakes of the past when they funded what he said was, quote trillions in subsidies toward creating demand for the solar industry. And quote, all the production goes to Asia. We should create the demand and create the manufacturing at the same time. That led to further discussions about the supply chain needed to create the hydrogen economy, with Newsom commenting that the high cost of transportation could act as a spur to drive the manufacturing of hydrogen infrastructure toward the Western nations that are expected to be the biggest consumers. Throughout the day, the benefits of hydrogen repeated often, it can be transported relatively easily with Serhan, noting that his company operates hydrogen pipelines that run hundreds of miles. Areas that are rich in renewable capability, like a sunny area can in essence, store their excess renewable capacity by turning it into hydrogen, which can then be transported elsewhere.
Hydrogen is a great enabler and connector, Alvera said it allows renewables to be built where they would otherwise be hostage to the bottlenecks of the existing grid. It allows development on a bigger scale, and long before the economy develops. What a panelist in other discussions derisively referred to as an overly optimistic quote, shining hydrogen city on the hill, with hydrogen powering a vast number of activities. Alvera said hydrogen can make inroads into decarbonisation through blending, blending 10% Hydrogen into a natural gas stream, for example, would overnight create demand that would help give a boost to hydrogen infrastructure that might yield significant benefits 10 to 15 years in the future. Okay, so a little insight from ceraweek and a hydrogen panel discussing a chicken and egg scenario regarding the hydrogen industry, which should come first supply or demand. Now, I personally believe that Newsom and Alvera have their thumbs directly on this market. And while I don’t agree with everything that they have to say, I think as a whole, they hit the nail right on the head. Hydrogen is the fuel of the future. But it boils down to how we, as the hydrogen industry deliver it to a consumer market.
And on that subject, Alvera is right. If we can start just trickling in hydrogen into a natural gas stream, that alone will create enough demand. But I also really like what Newsom had to say, regarding electrolyzer standardization. Now, that’s not to say that new advancements can’t be made in electrolyzers. That’s always going to be a critical component of any new technology. But if we can start laying out standards, that will drop the cost of electrolyzers immensely.
Alright, that’s it for me everyone. If you have any questions, comments or concerns about today’s episode, come and visit me on 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.