Hydrogen Economy

Clean energy solutions for the long haul

Overview

The hydrogen economy represents an envisioned future in which hydrogen is readily used as a source of clean energy. Hydrogen can be used to generate power using either fuel cells or combustion. Both processes are clean and do not generate any carbon emissions. However, the same cannot be said about hydrogen production, and nearly all commercially produced hydrogen is currently generated using fossil fuels. Cleaner forms of hydrogen exist but are relatively expensive. Coupled with the fact that hydrogen is also a relatively weak energy carrier, makes the process a somewhat less attractive fossil fuel alternative. Nevertheless, several unique use cases, such as renewable energy storage, on-site industrial power generation, and long-range mobility make hydrogen relevant in addressing the climate crisis.

What's driving this industry?

Industry Updates

Proton technologies licenses tech to UPC Hydrogen
Sep 22
Loop Energy delivers its first shipment to Mobility & Innovation
Sep 20
Plug Power to deploy largest green hydrogen facility on the West Coast
Sep 20
View all updates
Market Sizing

The US Hydrogen Economy could reach USD 1.0 - USD 6.2 billion by 2025

Conservative case

USD 1.0 Bn

Base case

USD 2.3 Bn

Expansion case

USD 6.2 Bn

USD billion02468202020212022202320242025
View details

COVID-19 IMPACT

  • Nikola Corporation has indefinitely postponed the launch of its hydrogen fuel cell pickup truck, Nikola Badger, due to Covid-19 restrictions.
  • ITM Power reported a 38% downward revision to 2020 revenue due to Covid-19 delays.
  • Quantron, Riversimple, and Loop Energy also reported delays due to Covid-19.
  • Bloom Energy, PowerCell Sweden, Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies, and Ionomr Innovations helped power temporary Covid-19 medical facilities.
  • Ionomr and Nikola received Covid-19 funding through government grants and relief programs.

Market Mapping

Clean Hydrogen dominates an industry full of seed-stage startups

Clean Hydrogen is the most active segment in the industry followed by Next-Gen Hydrogen Distribution, Hydrogen Fuel Cells, and Hydrogen Vehicles while Low-Carbon Hydrogen represents the segment with the fewest number of startups. The lack of growth-stage startups represents the nascent status of the industry with commercial applications only starting to gradually emerge.

The presence of a higher number of seed-stage startups suggests that these technologies are somewhat proven and the industry could heat up over the next few years as these companies go to market. There is also evidence of vertical expansion along the value chain with some clean hydrogen startups leveraging their electrolyzer technology to produce fuel cells and vice versa and also some clean hydrogen and hydrogen vehicle startups complementing their products with expansions into hydrogen distribution.

Incumbents
Growth
Early
Seed
Pre seed
Low-carbon Hydrogen
?
Clean Hydrogen
?
Next-gen Hydrogen Distribution
?
Hydrogen Fuel Cells
?
Hydrogen Vehicles
?
(Hydrogenics)
(Hydrogenics)
(Hydrogenics)
(Hydrogenics)
(Hydrogenics)
FuelCell Energy
Linde
Air Liquide
BP
Eni
Hydra Energy
C-Zero
Proton Technologies
Divigas
Ekona Power
Plug Power
Nel Hydrogen
FuelCell Energy
Bloom Energy
Linde
Air Liquide
Air Products
Xebec (HyGear)
Cummins (Hydrogenics)
BP
Eni
Shell
TotalEnergies
Octopus Energy
ITM Power
Enapter
Sunfire
Green Hydrogen Systems
Elcogen
Hymeth
Sylfen
H2B2
Heliogen
Syzygy Plasmonics
Raven SR
Ergosup
Ionomr Innovations
SunHydrogen
Membrasenz
H2 Energy Now
Ways2H
H2Pro
Joi Scientific
Trolysis
Plug Power
Nel Hydrogen
Linde
Air Liquide
Eni
Shell
Hydrogenious LOHC Technologies
ITM Power
Atawey
Hydrogen In Motion
HES Energy
HyET Hydrogen
Nikola Motor Company
Ergosup
H2GO Power
HySiLabs
GRZ Technologies
CYRUS
Electriq Global
Ballard Power Systems
Plug Power
FuelCell Energy
Bloom Energy
Hyster-Yale (Nuvera Fuel Cells)
Cummins (Hydrogenics)
Toyota
PowerCell Sweden
Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies
Pajarito Powder
Loop Energy
Elcogen
Sylfen
PowerUp Energy Technologies
Ionomr Innovations
EH Group Engineering
Toyota
Hyundai
Honda
Airbus
CGON
Quantron
HES Energy
Hydrox Systems
Nikola Motor Company
Hyzon Motors
ZeroAvia
Hydra Energy
HyPoint
Riversimple
Alakai Technologies
Keyou

The Disruptors

B2C neobanks dominate while large players establish a presence in the B2B market

Disruptors in the neobanks space mainly comprise players providing digital banking services to individuals (B2C). The highest-funded disruptors, including Nubank, Revolut, and Chime, also primarily center their services around individual checking or savings accounts. Additionally, there are some consumer-focused neobanks that focus specifically on providing credit-related products, including Avant and Upgrade. Although most neobanks are concentrating on the B2C space, some players, such as Nubank, Revolut, and Starling Bank, have recently placed their efforts on establishing a presence in the B2B segment as well. 

Established pure players operating in the B2B segment include BlueVine, Tide Bank, Qonto, Grasshopper, and Rho. Similar to the B2C segment, most disruptors in this space focus on providing digital banking products, although a few players such as BlueVine and Grasshopper also provide credit-related products. 

Almost all neobanks remain privately funded as of August 2021, with the exception of MoneyLion, which went public via a SPAC in February 2021. However, Nubank has announced plans to go public via an IPO in the US, with the transaction expected to be finalized in late 2021 or early 2022.

Low-carbon Hydrogen

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Hydra Energy
13
C-Zero
12
Watchlist
?
Ekona Power
Proton Technologies
Divigas

Clean Hydrogen

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
ITM Power
Public - Market cap USD 3.3 bn
Enapter
Public - Market cap USD 705.2 mn
SunHydrogen
Public - Market cap USD 206.2 mn
Heliogen
129
Sunfire
47
Green Hydrogen Systems
34
H2Pro
32
Syzygy Plasmonics
29
Raven SR
20
Ergosup
18
Ionomr Innovations
10
Elcogen
7
Hymeth
0
Sylfen
Unknown
H2B2
Unknown
Watchlist
?
Joi Scientific
Membrasenz
H2 Energy Now
Ways2H
Trolysis

Next-gen Hydrogen Distribution

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Nikola Motor Company
Public - Market cap USD 4.6 bn
ITM Power
Public - Market cap USD 3.3 bn
Hydrogenious LOHC Technologies
78
Ergosup
18
Atawey
1
Hydrogen In Motion
Unknown
HES Energy
Unknown
HyET Hydrogen
Unknown
Electriq Global
Unknown
Watchlist
?
H2GO Power
HySiLabs
GRZ Technologies
CYRUS

Hydrogen Fuel Cells

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
PowerCell Sweden
Public - Market cap USD 1.1 bn
Loop Energy
Public - Market cap USD 138.5 mn
Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies
11
Ionomr Innovations
10
Pajarito Powder
9
Elcogen
7
Sylfen
Unknown
PowerUp Energy Technologies
Unknown
Watchlist
?
EH Group Engineering

Hydrogen Vehicles

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Nikola Motor Company
Public - Market cap USD 4.6 bn
Hyzon Motors
Public - Market cap USD 2.3 bn
ZeroAvia
75
Hydra Energy
13
Riversimple
7
CGON
1
HES Energy
Unknown
Quantron
Unknown
Hydrox Systems
Unknown
Watchlist
?
HyPoint
Keyou
Alakai Technologies

Hydra Energy

Canada-based Hydra Energy offers Hydrogen-as-a-Service for commercial fleets. The company sources hydrogen from chemical partners and then purifies and compresses it for distribution. The company converts semi-truck fleets to its proprietary hydrogen injection system in exchange for long-term, discounted fuel contracts. As of May 2021, the company had road-tested modified trucks on commercial routes, covering more than 124,000 miles.

As of June 2021, Hydra Energy also has an ongoing hydrogen capture pilot project at a chemical plant in British Columbia, carried out in partnership with Chemtrade (entered into in February 2021), a provider of industrial chemicals and services. 

In May 2021, the company announced plans for commercialization of its services in late 2021. The company plans to start providing its hydrogen conversion kits to truck fleets and hydrogen (at a 5% discount to diesel costs) in late 2021.

In May 2021, Hydra Energy raised CAD 15 million (USD 12 million) in a Series A funding round from Just Business to further develop its plant in British Columbia, fueling infrastructure, and conversion kits.

Segment:
Low-carbon Hydrogen
Total funding:
USD 12.7 million
Competitors:
Hydrox Systems, Keyou
Disruptor Funding History

Low-carbon Hydrogen:

Hydra Energy
C-Zero
Ekona Power
Proton Technologies
Divigas

Clean Hydrogen:

ITM Power
Enapter
SunHydrogen
Heliogen
Sunfire
Green Hydrogen Systems
H2Pro
Syzygy Plasmonics
Raven SR
Ergosup
Ionomr Innovations
Elcogen
Hymeth
Joi Scientific
Membrasenz
H2 Energy Now

Next-gen Hydrogen Distribution:

The Incumbents

Several clean hydrogen and hydrogen-focussed fuel cell pioneers such as Ballard Power Systems, Plug Power, and NEL Hydrogen are already generating around USD 100 million or more in annual revenue. Almost all of these companies have developed their core technology in-house over years in operation. All of these companies, however, have yet to turn a profit.

Leading fossil-fuel based hydrogen (grey hydrogen) suppliers such as Linde, Air Liquide, and Air Products are also gradually decarbonizing their operations through low-carbon or clean hydrogen processes. Oil and gas majors such as BP, Shell, Eni, and Total Energies also have several ongoing clean hydrogen projects as a part of their sustainability commitments.

Automobile companies such as Toyota and Hyundai lead the hydrogen fuel cell electric (FCEV) space while Airbus is planning on developing the first hydrogen powered commercial aircraft.

In-house development

Partnerships

Acquisitions/investments

Ballard Power Systems
check
check
Plug Power
check
Nel Hydrogen
check
check
FuelCell Energy
check
Bloom Energy
check
Linde
check
check
Air Liquide
check
check
Air Products
check
Xebec (HyGear)
check
Hyster-Yale (Nuvera Fuel Cells)
check
Cummins (Hydrogenics)
check
check
BP
check
Eni
check
check
Shell
check
Toyota
check
Hyundai
check
TotalEnergies
check
check
Honda
check
Airbus
check
Octopus Energy
check
Ballard Power Systems

Canada-based Ballard Power Systems (Ballard) is a global leader in proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell applications. Ballard was founded in 1979 and has been listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and NASDAQ since 1993 and 1995, respectively. 

Ballard’s main focus is on fuel cell applications for heavy-duty vehicles such as buses, trucks, trains, and marine crafts. The Heavy-Duty Motive segment (which includes heavy-duty vehicle applications) accounted for around 46% of Ballard’s revenue in 2020. Ballard also provides fuel cell applications for material handling (e.g. forklifts) and backup power which accounted for around 10% of revenue. Additionally, Ballard provides several technology solutions, including fuel cell engineering services, technology licensing, and components, which collectively account for 44% of revenue.

Ballard’s three key markets are China, Europe, and California which account for 52%, 35%, and 8% of revenue, respectively. In China, Ballard has primarily operated through a joint venture (JV) with Weichai Power, a Chinese state-owned powertrain manufacturer, since 2018. The JV operates a two-gigawatt fuel cell manufacturing facility in Weifang. As of December 2020, the company reported powering around 45% of total fuel cell electric vehicles in China including over 1,030 buses, 2,220 trucks, and the world’s first fuel cell-powered commercial tram line. 

In Europe, Ballard reported a market share of around 80% as of December 2020 through partnerships with Wrightbus, Solaris, and Vanhool that have deployed 225 fuel cell electric buses across 17 cities. The company has also teamed up with Siemens in Germany and HydroFLEX in the UK to develop hydrogen passenger train projects while also maintaining a partnership with ABB to develop fuel cell systems for marine applications.     

In California, Ballard has partnered with OCTA, AC Transit, and Sunline to deploy 37 fuel cell electric busses, accounting for a market share of around 95% as of December 2020. The company has also partnered with Kenworth, REV, UPS, BAE Systems, and Linamar to develop fuel cell electric trucks.

Ballard reported revenue of USD 103.9 million (a decrease of 1.7% year-over-year) and an operating loss of USD 39.8 million in 2020.

Notable Investors

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