DiCaprio, Coldplay, U2 and Angelina Jolie: Are celeb endorsements driving investment in green energy stocks?

Celebrity backing tends to raise the profile of and interest in any topic — just look at what happened to psychedelics and cannabis when celebs promoted them. So far, the same is holding true for hydrogen fuel stocks, which aren’t typically a “sexy” topic. 

But combating climate change is one of today’s most important causes, so it’s little surprise to see celebrities picking up the issue and looking for ways to signal their concern for sustainability. Here are some of the ways that celebrities are driving investment in hydrogen energy stocks as part of their eco-friendly lifestyles.

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are the new trophy vehicle

Over the last few years, actors have moved on from gas-guzzling SUVs to embrace green cars, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) are their car of choice. FCVs run on hydrogen produced by electrolysis powered by some renewable energy sources. Electrolyzers harvest hydrogen molecules from their compound with oxygen, and the molecules are then passed into fuel cells so their energy can be released as fuel. 

Green hydrogen is the darling of Hollywood because it produces zero pollution or carbon emissions. Jay Leno, a well-known car enthusiast and FCV fan, demonstrated the car’s green credentials by drinking the tailpipe water that is the car’s only by-product. “When I hear people blaming the automobile for global warming, I have to chuckle. It’s not the car. It’s the fuel.” says Leno1

Hydrogen cars are not even that new for Hollywood’s finest, who have been driving hydrogen cars for over a decade to show support for the technology and the concept. Joely Fisher drove a BMW Hydrogen 7 luxury automobile, and so did Edward Norton, Cameron Diaz, Placido Domingo, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie2.

In 2019, Jamie Lee Curtis, Little Miss Sunshine producer Ron Yerxa, and Avatar producer Jon Landau arrived at the Global Green pre-Oscar gala in hydrogen FCVs3. Jane Fonda and astronaut Buzz Aldrin did the same in 20214, and Sean Astin and Mena Suvari went one better and bought their own hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai. “Nothing is perfect,” says Suvari, “but these vehicles are a step to liv[ing] as free of toxins and pollutants as possible.”5 K-pop band BTS used hydrogen-powered Hyundai Nexo SUVs to travel to the Grammys in 20206, and are now serving as Hyundai’s Global Ambassadors “to speak to a clean future.”7

It’s not just cars, either; several celebrity homes are allegedly powered by private hydrogen-driven grids. Johnny Depp’s private island in the Bahamas is said to rely on a hydrogen-power home system built by hydro enthusiast Mike Strizki.8

Rock concerts could be going green

Rock concerts and music festivals use up massive amounts of fuel, from the lighting and audio systems to temperature control at venues and planes and cars transporting band equipment from one tour location to another. But environmentally aware music groups are working to shrink their carbon footprint. 

Coldplay famously promised not to go on tour until they could do it sustainably. True to their word, their 2022 Magic of the Spheres world tour will produce 50% less CO2 emissions than their last tour in 2016, thanks to carbon-cutting tactics that include using more renewable energy and planting more trees.9

Rock giants U2 used Toyota FCVs to produce enough green hydrogen to power all the audio and backline control systems at their 2019 show in Tokyo. It’s part of a commitment to sustainability that includes recycling as much as possible from concerts and tours, eliminating single-use plastic from their concerts, and encouraging public transportation to their shows.10

“For a decade, U2 has taken great steps to reduce or eliminate the environmental impact of their touring,” says Michael Martin, the band’s environmental advisor. “In the process, U2 are positively influencing their fans, other artists, and the rest of the industry along the way.”11 

U2’s approach may become mainstream; a European project recently trialed the GEM-Stage, a hydrogen energy tower that can replace the typical — and high-polluting — diesel generators to power a complete rock concert or festival stage.12

Green energy is attracting celebrity investment

Some famous names are even investing in green hydrogen stocks. In 2017, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation awarded grants to Energy Independence Now, which works to support clean and renewable technology, especially renewable hydrogen.13

EIN’s Executive Director, Brian Goldstein, said “The support from the DiCaprio Foundation will help us continue to encourage the adoption and expansion of renewable hydrogen infrastructure and zero-emission hydrogen electric vehicles to help fight climate change and accelerate clean energy.”14

2021 saw a green hydrogen company, Enapter, become one of the awardees of Prince William’s Earthshot prize. Enapter scored $1.37 million for its modular anion-exchange membrane (AEM) electrolyzer, which it says can drastically lower both the capex and opex costs of green hydrogen production. The win had an immediate impact on share prices, which rose 4% the following Monday morning.15

Green hydrogen stocks are benefiting from wide support

The warm embrace that celebrities have extended towards green hydrogen, whether by driving FCVs, using hydrogen to power their homes and shows, or investing in green hydrogen R&D, inevitably has an effect on public attitudes towards hydrogen companies’ stock. 

Investors of all stripes are giving hydrogen fuel cell stocks a second look, hoping to find the best hydrogen stocks and join this disruptive technology. 

One way to spread your investment across a number of green and blue gas hydrogen stocks is to invest in a hydrogen stocks ETF like Defiance’s HDRO, which tracks the progress of a number of promising hydrogen energy stocks and helps mitigate your exposure to risk.

1 “Leno on Hydrogen Fueling Our Future: Jay’s Green Garage” December 20, 2007 http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/a2432/4237807/ 

2 “Stars test the waters with hydrogen cars” June 15, 2008 https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-greencar15-2008jun15-story.html 

3 “Hydrogen Cars Replacing Teslas as Eco-Conscious Hollywood Obsession” June 14, 2019 https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/lifestyle/style/hydrogen-cars-replacing-teslas-as-eco-conscious-hollywood-obsession-1217149/ 

4 “Educating California and the world on the benefits of hydrogen-powered transportation” August 24, 2021 https://www.h2-view.com/story/educating-california-and-the-world-on-the-benefits-of-hydrogen-powered-transportation-energy-independence-now-tells-h2-view-how-its-vital-work-pivoted-during-covid-19/ 

5 “Hydrogen Cars Replacing Teslas as Eco-Conscious Hollywood Obsession” June 14, 2019 https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/lifestyle/style/hydrogen-cars-replacing-teslas-as-eco-conscious-hollywood-obsession-1217149/ 

6 “Hyundai Nexo Brings Korean Heartthrobs BTS to the Grammys” January 28, 2020 https://www.yahoo.com/news/hyundai-nexo-brings-korean-heartthrobs-090057043.html 

7 Tweet by Hyundai, January 27, 2020 https://twitter.com/Hyundai_Global/status/1221636786402648064 

8 “The Gospel of Hydrogen Power” December 28, 2020 https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/28/business/hydrogen-power-cars.html 

9 “Rock Band Coldplay Takes First Steps to Cut Carbon Footprint of World Tours” October 21, 2021 https://www.theenergymix.com/2021/10/21/rock-stars-take-first-steps-to-address-carbon-footprint-of-world-tours/  

10 “HYDROGEN POWERED ROCK’N’ROLL” December 31, 2019 https://www.u2.com/news/title/hydrogen-powered-rocknroll/news/ 

11 “HYDROGEN POWERED ROCK’N’ROLL” December 31, 2019 https://www.u2.com/news/title/hydrogen-powered-rocknroll/news/ 

12 “Experience screaming guitars, light shows and intimate performances with green energy” April 30, 2021 https://innovationorigins.com/en/experience-screaming-guitars-light-shows-and-intimate-performances-with-green-energy/ 

13 “Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation Awards Grant to Energy Independence Now” September 19, 2017 https://einow.org/news-1/2017/9/19/leonardo-dicaprio-foundation-awards-grant-to-energy-independence-now  

14  “Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation Awards Grant to Energy Independence Now” September 19, 2017 https://einow.org/news-1/2017/9/19/leonardo-dicaprio-foundation-awards-grant-to-energy-independence-now 

15 “Hydrogen electrolyser maker Enapter wins Prince William’s £1m Earthshot prize” October 18, 2021 https://www.rechargenews.com/energy-transition/hydrogen-electrolyser-maker-enapter-wins-prince-williams-1m-earthshot-prize/2-1-1083898