hydrogen infrastructure report

USA & CANADA Quarterly H2 Infrastructure Update 2019-Q2

Welcome new readers of RMP’s quarterly H2 infrastructure report.  Each quarter we look back on the major stories related to hydrogen infrastructure advancements and we compare the current AFDC database to the AFDC database in the prior quarter to see what has changed.  The AFDC database is updated by the US Dept of Energy & 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.  Ok, on with the report…

skai air taxi hydrogen
The Skai air taxi powered by a hydrogen fuel cell stack has a range of 4 hours/400 miles and can be refueled full in about ten minutes. This 5 passenger VTOL (Vertical Take Off & Landing) vehicle has been under development by Massachusetts start up Alaka’i Technologies for over fours years and debuted this quarter on May 29, 2019 in California. The https://skai.co/ website is really awesome. There are two new videos on there that you should go check out. Click image to enlarge.

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.

Kenworth & Toyota debuted this generation 2 Fuel Cell Electric Heavy-Duty truck (FCET) this past quarter on Earth Day. This is a Class 8 vehicle with over 300 miles of range which is 2x the daily range of normal drayage duties. This truck & 9 others will begin operating at the Ports of Los Angeles & Long Beach . Toyota, Kenworth, & California Air Resources Board teamed up for this Project Portal effort to bring zero emission heavy transport to California’s busiest diesel truck areas. Read more in Toyota’s press release from April 22, 2019. Click image to enlarge.

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:

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.

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