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Justin Milberg's picture
Managing Member, KV Catalyst IM LLC

Justin Milberg is an analyst and currently serves as a Managing Member of KV Catalyst IM LLC with a focus on the hydrogen economy.  Previously, he served as a Managing Director at Resource...

  • Member since 2022
  • 14 items added with 4,588 views
  • Mar 17, 2023

Fortescue Future Industries announced that it will sort through its many LOIs and MOUs to reach final investment decision on five projects by the end of 2023. The same shift in focus from long term aspirations to near term execution was evident throughout Q4 hydrogen sector earnings calls:

1) Hydrogen is hard to do.

Plug Power revised sales and margin targets down due to technical challenges with launching its liquid hydrogen plant in Georgia as well as delays in rolling out new products. Nel saw a big jump in backlog but attributed widening losses to higher commissioning and servicing costs for both its electrolyzer and fuel station products. ITM Power discussed the need to narrow its product offerings and reduce customization in order to streamline manufacturing and servicing.  In a related development, press reports also indicate sizable cost overruns at the flagship NEOM green hydrogen project being developed in Saudi Arabia by Air Products with Thyssenkrupp electrolyzers.

2) “Time-to-Power” emerging as an important catalyst for stationary fuel cells.

Bloom Energy cited “time-to-power” as a significant demand driver especially from sustainability sensitive industries such a data centers. Those data centers can wait up to three years for a grid connection in certain geographies whereas Bloom can offer power in about six months with immediate clean air implications and long term decarbonization potential through the migration from natural gas to clean hydrogen. Plug Power separately noted that powering EV charging stations has emerged as an important market for its stationary fuel cells based on similar dynamics.

3) Hydrogen mobility market shifts focus to fueling infrastructure.

The medium and heavy-duty FCEV market has shifted focus from product introductions to fueling infrastructure as a major barrier to fleet adoption. Cummins will accelerate its development of hydrogen fueling stations along the I-80 Corridor in the Midwest. Hyzon and Chevron invested in Raven SR to provide clean hydrogen for Bay Area trucking fleets. Nikola introduced its fueling infrastructure brand, HYLA, and Plug Power purchased fueling stations from Hydrogen Refueling Solutions for its Hyvia FCEV joint venture with Renault. Cummins is also pursuing a separate approach to helping customers navigate the transition by rolling out a new fuel agnostic engine that can combust hydrogen as well as other fuels.

4) Coming to America.

It may be too early to credit the IRA, but many European hydrogen businesses are making plans for a larger presence in the US. HydrogenPro, PowerCell Sweden and ITM Power all discussed US expansion plans on their earnings calls. Johnson Matthey will make the US home for the world’s largest catalyst coated membrane factory to supply Plug Power. Nel has narrowed its search for a US gigafactory site to three finalists.


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