Unleashing Green Hydrogen Demand

Andy Marsh

We speak with Andy Marsh, CEO of Plug Power, about the biggest trends shaping the green hydrogen industry and how the industry will evolve over the next ten years.

What’s the biggest trend shaping the green hydrogen industry today?

The growing commitments to decarbonization across various sectors are spurring the development of supportive policies and international collaborations which are fostering widespread adoption of green hydrogen.

Renewable energy is becoming more affordable and accessible, enhancing the viability and competitiveness of green hydrogen production and, specifically, electrolyzer technology. Electrolyzer technology has helped unlock green hydrogen’s full potential as a sustainable energy source for various applications, from transportation to industrial processes. By driving advancements in efficiency, scalability and cost-effectiveness, green hydrogen is becoming more competitive with traditional fossil fuel-based methods.

As governments worldwide implement ambitious strategies to drive the transition to renewable energy, policy has become one of the foremost trends shaping the green hydrogen industry.

Robust policy frameworks, including subsidies, incentives and regulations, play a pivotal role in fostering market growth for green hydrogen production. The Inflation Reduction Act’s clean hydrogen production tax credit, commonly referred to as 45V, is a significant policy initiative in the U.S. aimed at fostering the development and adoption of hydrogen infrastructure. This tax credit provides a financial incentive for businesses involved in the production of low-carbon hydrogen fuel.

How do you think the industry will evolve in the next decade?

We anticipate the demand for green hydrogen to grow at a steady pace over the next decade, driving costs down. More and more green hydrogen supply will come online and at increasingly faster rates. With an expansion of hydrogen supply, core applications that are key to reaching emissions reduction goals will boom, like transportation and industrial processes.

Customer demand for green hydrogen will continue to grow as a low-carbon energy source for hard-to-decarbonize industries, such as heavy-duty transportation, heavy manufacturing (steel, cement, aluminum, and chemicals), stationary power generation, and aviation. In addition, hydrogen-supportive policies in Europe and the U.S. will continue to improve the economic attractiveness of green hydrogen.

Which specific trends in your industry are you most excited about?

We anticipate hydrogen fuel cells will increasingly be used as a backup or supplemental power source, displacing diesel and natural gas generators. We’re already seeing demand for this offering with our hydrogen-powered stationary fuel cell system for commercial electric vehicle (EV) charging, which was developed in response to our customers’ need for alternative sources of power to supplement the grid to keep up with the pace of EV fleet deployments.

We’re also encouraged by the potential for hydrogen fuel cells in emerging grid applications like microgrids. An example is our project with Energy Vault for using a hydrogen fuel cell stationary solution on a microgrid in California, which supplies power to a local municipality during Public Safety Power Shut Off (PSPS) events.

We even see room for hydrogen fuel cells to replace natural gas peaker plants by 2035 — supplying grid-scale power in times of high demand. The demand for clean energy is only increasing in the U.S. and beyond; look no further than emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, which are going to require huge amounts of reliable, uninterrupted power.

Beyond applications, we see the potential for hydrogen to play a role in the seasonal storage of intermittent renewable sources like wind and solar. In periods where excess energy is generated from wind and solar assets, there is a big opportunity to use that excess in the creation of green hydrogen. As an energy carrier, that hydrogen gas can then be stored for long periods of time in existing formations like salt caverns, This is similar to how some natural gas is stored today.

Do you have any unique predictions on the outlook of your industry?

My career started in the wireless market, and right now, the green hydrogen industry feels like the wireless market in the early 1990s. Then, it took us six months to make a cell tower work; today, that technology is 100 times better. My prediction is that the green hydrogen industry will follow that same trajectory and will become widespread in the same way we use wireless technology today.

When I pause to reflect on Plug's ambitious projects, such as the world's largest green hydrogen plant in Georgia and the gigafactory for electrolyzer manufacturing in Rochester, N.Y., we made those investments because the potential of the green hydrogen market is vast.

The significance of green hydrogen in achieving decarbonization goals cannot be overstated. With momentum building and investments pouring in, the industry is poised for exponential growth on the path to a carbon-neutral future.

This interview originally appeared in our TradeTalks newsletter. Sign up here to access exclusive market analysis by a new industry expert each week. We also spotlight must-see TradeTalks videos from the past week.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.



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