Each quarter RMP looks back on the stories & data related to hydrogen infrastructure advancements in the USA & Canada. The Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) database hosted by the US Dept of Energy is RMP’s source for quarter over quarter comparisons and can be found by clicking here. Canada does not have a centralized database of alternative fuel vehicle information so we collect Canadian data by hand in RMP’s own data tables. Read the 2019 Q2 update…
The main objective of this quarterly publication is to review hydrogen infrastructure developments across the USA & Canada. For the most part, that translates to new public hydrogen refueling stations opening and watching the construction progress of new stations. But, the infrastructure in the hydrogen economy is much bigger than just refueling stations. Manufacturing companies like Hydrogenics, Ballard Power, Bloom Energy, Doosan, & Plug Power are all part of the burgeoning hydrogen economy. Major industrial gas suppliers like Air Liquide, Air Products, Linde, and Praxier all have big roles to play in the hydrogen economy. So too do major manufacturers like Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, General Motors, and Mercedes along with many more.
While the addition & progress of public refueling stations is still the major focus of this publication, most of the action this past quarter has been the growth of the hydrogen economy at large outside of the refueling stations sector. The biggest example just happened a week ago with Cummins purchasing Hydrogenics for $290M (or $15/share). This purchase is a major validation of hydrogen fuel cells coming of age. Cummins has over $21B of revenue each year & is a powerhouse in the diesel engine game. Cummins is not just purchasing a small distributor or supplier to ease a logistics issue, this is a strategic shift in its main profit center: starting the changeover of making diesel engines to making zero emission heavy duty fuel cell systems. Cummins knows a thing or two about powering large marine vessels, Class 8 trucks to Class 1 trucks, and even backup generators for critical infrastructure like hospitals, water treatment plants, and key government buildings. Cummins purchase of Hydrogenics indicates an acknowledgement that heavy duty fuel cells could begin to replace every single one of those applications with zero emission clean hydrogen that is domestically produced; i.e. no more imported crude oil or the smog that goes with it.
Cummins recognition of diesel reaching its peak & its purchase of fuel cell maker Hydrogenics signifies diesel now entering its denouement. And my choice of the French word denouement is no accident as I segue to remind you French industrial giant Air Liquide [based in Paris, France] recently made an investment in Hydrogenics in 2018 Q4 of $20.5 million dollars purchasing 3.5 million shares of $HYGS common stock. Now that Cummins has purchased $HYGS for $15/share, that gives Air Liquide shares that are now worth more than $52.5M !! Not a bad investment by Air Liquide to more than double their money in just six months!
The truth is, however, Air Liquide’s investment in $HYGS was not made to turn a quick buck. $52.5M is an immaterial amount for Air Liquide which has approimately €21B of revenue per year . Air Liquide is vested in the big picture of moving the hydrogen economy forward. Also of note, in RMP’s 2018-Q4 publication, we cited reports that Air Liquide also entered a $150M hydrogen supply agreement with First Element Fuel in California. Air Liquide is not just investing in Hydrogenics & California, they’re investing in the hydrogen economy around the world. These are major companies doing what they said they were going to do: invest $billions$ into the hydrogen economy.
Also newsworthy, as recent as July 1 (this publication is a tiny late this quarter), we have reports of energy giant Duke Energy announcing plans to purchase $250M in fuel cells from Bloom Energy. There is literally so much astonishing growth in hydrogen fuel cell markets this past quarter I would need ten articles to cover it all.
I will leave a listing of what I think are key headlines that occurred in 2019-Q2 but I want to mention one more specific major headline this quarter. The U.S. Department of Energy announced a collaboration of what is touted as the world’s largest clean energy storage project in the world. The underground hydrogen storage project is destined to deliver 1,000 megawatts of energy and is bound for Utah’s Millard County. This clean energy storage project will change the U.S. energy grid in the West.
The Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems and Magnum Development initiative was officially unveiled Thursday May 30, 2019 by Gov. Gary Herbert at the Energy Summit in an event headlined by U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.
The big headline news of hydrogen economy development is happening so fast now it gives ample reason for RMP to start publishing this update monthly rather than quarterly. Maybe RMP will begin monthly publications starting in 2020. Until then, below are list of what RMP considers key headlines from 2019-Q2. Then we will get to the hydrogen refueling station numbers.
Important H2 Infrastructure Headline Stories from 2019-Q2:
- 4/22/2019 – Kenworth announces with Toyota that they will be putting 10 Generation 2 Class 8 fuel cell big rigs into operation at the Ports of Los Angeles & Long Beach. The new generation 2 trucks have a range of over 300 miles per fill and are expected to begin operations in the fourth quarter of 2019. Project Portal is one of the most important hydrogen fuel cell demonstration projects in the world. In fact, it’s RMP’s opinion that Project Portal is the most important fuel cell demonstration project in the world. The technology is already proven so this will be a showcase to the world that it’s official: hydrogen is here to replace diesel. The April 22 release date of this information was to coincide with Earth Day.
- 4/23/2019 – If you like hydrogen info graphics, this is the link for you. It has powerpoint slide after slide of hydrogen economy information that VisualCapitalist.com pulled from the Canadian Hydrogen Fuel Cell Association.
- 4/28/2019 – PLUG Power investing $3.7M into a membrane manufacturing facility in Rochester, NY. PLUG power will create 80 new jobs with this investment in the American clean energy sector. The Rochester NY location is an amazing location to bring Midwestern manufacturing back to life. The location is the former Kodak Park very near the shoreline of Lake Ontario. Not only is this a shot in the arm for a dormant and forgotten manufacturing powerhouse area, it provides a great location for low cost maritime shipping to multiple major cities via the Great Lakes. Chicago, Detroit, Toronto, Cleveland, & Minneapolis are all in play with maritime freight. Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Philedelphia, New York City, and Boston all in play with land freight. Rochester, NY is a great manufacturing location and fuel cell manufacturing is going to bring it back with good jobs. PLUG Power is also expanding its presence with FedEx at the Albany NY airport east of Rochester.
- 4/29/2019 – Ballard launches turnkey fuel cell application for drones called FCair.
- 4/30/2019 – Fuel Cell Energy announces 1.4 MW fuel cell system with City of San Bernardino, California Municipal Water Department (SBMWD). Using natural gas from waste water emissions that would otherwise vent to atmosphere, the plant will provide negative emission energy in the form of electricity from renewable natural gas as well as hot water heating on site.
- 5/2/2019 – Canadian fuel cell manufacturer Ballard receives $44 order from Weichai Ballard Hy-Energy Technology (“Weichai-Ballard JV) for the supply of a mix of fuel cell products to the company Weichai Power Co Ltd (Weichai). This will support Weichai Power’s commitment to deliver 2,000 FCEVs by 2021with deliveries to start from Weichai-Ballard JV to Weichai in 2019.
- 5/3/2019 – NEL ASA (Oslo) announces first order for a hydrogen refueling station in British Columbia. If you recall this story from March of 2019, the largest convenience retail chain in the world, 7-11, announced plans to work with HTEC to build two hydrogen refueling stations in Canada. HTEC is partnering with NEL on this project that will in total open six hydrogen refueling stations. Vancouver will soon have good coverage of hydrogen refueling for early adopters.
- 5/22/2019 – California’s 40th public hydrogen refueling station opens in Sacramento.
- 5/30/2019 – The Economic Times of India breaks a story about the Skai personal aircraft powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The original article is now 404 but here is another write up. This air taxi has a range of 400 miles & can be completely refueled in 10 minutes.
- 5/28/2019 – True Zero, a hydrogen fuel provider in California, publishes a video of station equipment being delivered to the Oakland California station which is now under construction. The HRS in this video is slated to open in Q3 of 2019.
- 5/29/2019 – US company PLUG Power announces plan to team up with DHL to put 100 delivery vans on German streets starting in 2020.
Let’s look at the data updates from 2019 Q2:
As stated in the opening paragraph, a ton of activity in the hydrogen economy at large somewhat overshadowed the hydrogen refueling station infrastructure changes. But, there were still some changes in the HRS database between last quarter’s report and this quarter’s. Monitoring the changes in the Alt Fuels Database is the primary purpose of this publication so let’s get to the updates. The Alt Fuels Database is hosted by the US Dept of Energy.
New H2 Stations That Opened To The Public 2019 Q2:
The Sacramento Shell station was the 40th public HRS to open in the state of California. This station is one of the few stations that has two H70 pumps for filling two cars (or trucks) simultaneously. California leads the country in public H2 refueling infrastructure.
H2 Stations Removed from the AFDC Database 2019 Q2:
The Gas Technology Institute station is still listed in the AFDC database but has been changed to Temporarily Unavailable. The University of California Berkeley HRS has been removed from the database. The Shell station planned for Walnut Creek California has been removed from the database.
H2 Stations Added to the AFDC Database 2019 Q2:
The Shell San Jose, AC Transit Emeryville, FirstElement Fountain Valley, FirstElement Culver City, and FirstElement Laguna Beach stations have all been added to the AFDC database since last quarter. Yay 🙂
Other Updates & Changes to AFDC Database and CaFCP Station List 2019 Q2:
Five stations that were scheduled to open in 2019 have had their expected open dates slip to early & mid 2020. There are still five stations planned to open in Q3-2019 and five planned to open in Q4-2019. There are 8 stations planned to open in the first half of 2020.
Final Remarks for 2019 Q2
Many sectors of the hydrogen economy are starting to pop. It’s really unbelievable how many headlines are getting shared every day by people on facebook & twitter that are following developments closely. The announcement of Cummins purchasing Hydrogenics last week, however, is really some big news. Cummins has a $27B market cap with a strategic emphasis on selling diesel powertrain systems. Heavy duty fuel cells, like those made by Hydrogenics, are made specifically to replace diesel engines. Hydrogenics just announced in May another purchase order for 27 more fuel cell powered trains to go along with a previous order of 41 trains in March of 2019. The technology is proven and its coming fast. The Cummins transaction signals an understanding that diesel is in its denouement & hydrogen fuel cells are on the rise. It’s not going to happen overnight, but a paradigm shift is officially underway.
I’m sure by the time we get to the 2019 Q3 update, RMP will be able to post more story links about purchase orders for trains, planes, boats, and automobiles. The hydrogen future is now. These things are happening now and the momentum is undeniable.