18th Jul 2022
- Green hydrogen production is surging ahead worldwide
- Linde, Shell, and Air Products and Chemicals are among the green hydrogen production stocks today
- Australia, China, and Gulf countries could become regions of green hydrogen export
Green hydrogen stocks have been attracting attention for a while now, especially since COP26 (the United Nations Climate Change Conference) and the publication of a special UN report into the future of climate change. With so much public support and private angel investment into green hydrogen, many ordinary investors are also considering buying into hydrogen companies’ stock.
If you’re thinking of investing in hydrogen energy stocks, either as part of an ESG portfolio or to be part of the disruptive energy sector, we’ve gathered information about the hydrogen energy stocks involved in global green hydrogen production.
There are a number of ways to produce hydrogen fuel, and not all of them are equally eco-friendly. “Gray” hydrogen uses steam methane reforming (SMR) to extract hydrogen from natural gas, a process that’s high in carbon emissions. Blue gas hydrogen stocks, which have their supporters, add carbon capture and storage (CCS) to that process to capture the emissions and prevent them from escaping to harm the environment.
However, green hydrogen is truly environmentally friendly. Green hydrogen is produced using electrolysis powered by renewable energy, resulting in close to zero emissions. The process uses water, which holds hydrogen in a strong compound and is abundantly available across the planet, and passes it through electrolyzers to isolate the hydrogen molecules, harvest them, and pass them into fuel cells so the energy they contain can be released as fuel.
Hydrogen stocks can be involved in any part of the green hydrogen industry, including hydrogen fuel cell stocks which produce the fuel cells which power fuel cell elective vehicles (FCEVs); enterprises building hydrogen storage solutions and refueling stations for FCEVs; companies manufacturing electrolyzers; others developing hydrogen-powered vehicles; and, of course, these and other hydrogen fuel stocks producing the green hydrogen fuel which underpins much of the entire industry.
Based in the UK, Linde has been manufacturing industrial gases and gas processing and storage solutions since 1879, and today is widely recognized as one of the world’s foremost producers of gray, blue, and green hydrogen, covering every step in the hydrogen value chain. “We have been producing [green hydrogen] from green electricity and biomethane since 2012,” says Andreas Dietrich, Linde’s Head of On-Site Account Management North & East Germany at Leuna.
The company has built approximately 200 hydrogen refueling stations and 80 electrolysis facilities worldwide, and although Linde’s hydrogen capabilities have so far primarily focused on gray and blue hydrogen, its green hydrogen production is rapidly ramping up, with plans to triple the amount of clean hydrogen it produces by 20281.
Linde is in the process of building a 24MW electrolyzer at its hydrogen plant at Leuna, Germany, in collaboration with ITM Power. Green hydrogen is currently 5% of the fuel output, but the new facility is expected to produce 3,200 metric tons of green hydrogen annually from the middle of 2022, or enough for 600 hydrogen-powered buses to travel 40 million kilometers a year.2
Linde is also working on a 24MW green hydrogen plant in Norway, for the chemicals company Yara to use in the production of green ammonia for fertilizer and emission-free fuel for ships3. A 200MW plant in Lingen, Germany, is also under development with German energy company RWE AG, with the goal of scaling to 2GW green hydrogen production by 20304, and Linde has partnered with Infineon Technologies to build, own and operate a 2MW electrolyzer plant in Villach, Austria, to power Infineon’s semiconductor production5.
You might not expect an oil company to appear on this list, but Shell has seen the writing on the wall and recognizes the business and ethical need to increase green energy production.
Shell was an early customer for green hydrogen startup ITM Power, buying its electrolyzer units for use in the green hydrogen production facility at its Rhineland refinery. The plant began operations in July 2021, producing approximately 1,300 tons of hydrogen annually, and Shell plans to scale it up from 10MW to 100MW.6
Shell also recently signed a contract to build a 200MW electrolysis plant at the Port of Rotterdam, with the aim of supplying ships with green hydrogen fuel by 20247. It built a 20MW hydrogen plant in China that was briefly a contender for the world’s biggest electrolyzer8, and announced an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with Norsk Hydro to explore opportunities to produce and supply green hydrogen to a wider market. Shell says it wants to become a net-zero emissions energy firm by 20509.
Air Products and Chemicals has been producing essential gases for over 80 years and is the world’s largest supplier of merchant hydrogen10. While its hydrogen facilities originally produced gray hydrogen, it’s recently been expanding into blue and green carbon-free hydrogen.
Like Linde, Air Products deal with every step of hydrogen production from manufacture to transportation to end point distribution, through a network of hydrogen plants, transfill facilities, and pipelines. Among other green projects, Air Products is building Saudi Arabia’s flagship 2GW green hydrogen plant at Noem, which intends to produce 650 ton of green hydrogen per day from 202611.
Air Products also announced plans to build a green liquid hydrogen production facility in southwestern USA, which will produce zero-carbon for California and other areas12.
As well as researching specific companies competing for the biggest slice of the green hydrogen market, investors also need to know which locations are most suitable for successful green hydrogen projects. These are chiefly areas rich in resources for the renewable energy that powers green electrolyzers (areas expected to become major exporters of green hydrogen show as green on this map).
China is surging ahead in green hydrogen deployment, running a 150MW alkaline electrolyzer that it says is the largest in the world, and planning to beat its own record with a 260MW facility in mid-202313.
Other areas set to become major green hydrogen exporters include Australia, rich in renewable energy potential, and Gulf countries with existing fuel transportation infrastructure which can be converted to green hydrogen use4.
Like any other sector, investing in green hydrogen stocks requires investors to do their homework about the main companies and regions driving green hydrogen production.
For people unsure of their ability to identify the best hydrogen stocks, a hydrogen ETF like Defiance’s HDRO offers an alternative, helping you spread a single investment across a number of promising hydrogen stocks involved in the whole hydrogen value chain, thus helping diversify your capital across many companies in a disruptive and emerging industry.
For current performance and holdings, please visit defianceetfs.com/HDRO
1 “Linde says it will triple the amount of clean hydrogen production by 2028” August 27, 2021 https://www.h2-view.com/story/linde-says-it-will-triple-the-amount-of-clean-hydrogen-production-by-2028/
2 “Hydrogen in Leuna: The success story continues” https://www.linde-engineering.com/en/about-linde-engineering/success-stories/hydrogen-in-leuna-the-success-story-continues.html
3 “Linde Engineering to construct 24MW green hydrogen plant in Norway” January 28, 2022 https://www.gasworld.com/linde-engineering-to-construct-24mw-green-hydrogen-plant-in-norway/2022596.article
4 “RWE, Linde partner to build 200-MW electrolyser plant in Germany” December 21, 2021 https://renewablesnow.com/news/rwe-linde-partner-to-build-200-mw-electrolyser-plant-in-germany-766535/
5 “Linde to Supply Green Hydrogen to the Semiconductor Industry” August 18, 2021 https://www.linde.com/news-media/press-releases/2021/linde-to-supply-green-hydrogen-to-the-semiconductor-industry
6 “Shell starts up Europe’s largest PEM green hydrogen electrolyser” July 2, 2021 https://www.shell.com/media/news-and-media-releases/2021/shell-starts-up-europes-largest-pem-green-hydrogen-electrolyser.html
7 “Shell Signs Contract for Green Hydrogen Plant in Rotterdam” January 14, 2022 https://www.maritime-executive.com/article/shell-signs-contract-for-green-hydrogen-plant-in-rotterdam
8 “Shell says one of the largest hydrogen electrolyzers in the world is now up and running in China” January 28, 2022 https://www.cnbc.com/2022/01/28/green-hydrogen-one-of-planets-largest-electrolyzers-up-and-running.html
9 “Shell teams up with Norsk Hydro to work on green hydrogen projects” November 9, 2021 https://www.cnbc.com/2021/11/09/shell-teams-up-with-norsk-hydro-to-work-on-green-hydrogen-projects.html
10 “5 Renewable Energy Companies Innovating Hydrogen” August 11, 2021 https://www.nesfircroft.com/blog/2021/08/5-renewable-energy-companies-innovating-hydrogen
11 “One of the Largest Green Hydrogen Projects in the World: thyssenkrupp Signs Contract to Install Over 2GW Electrolysis Plant for Air Products in NEOM” December 13, 2021 https://www.airproducts.com/news-center/2021/12/1213-air-products-awards-thyssenkrupp-uhde-chlorine-engineers-contract-for-neom
12 “Air Products’ New World-Scale Liquid Hydrogen Plant is Onstream at Its La Porte, Texas Facility” October 7, 2021 https://www.airproducts.com/news-center/2021/10/1007-air-products-new-liquid-hydrogen-plant-onstream-at-laporte-texas-facility
13 “Record breaker | World’s largest green hydrogen project, with 150MW electrolyser, brought on line in China” February 1, 2022 https://www.rechargenews.com/energy-transition/record-breaker-world-s-largest-green-hydrogen-project-with-150mw-electrolyser-brought-on-line-in-china/2-1-1160799
14 “Major energy exporters race to lead in global hydrogen trade” October 28, 2021 https://www.woodmac.com/press-releases/major-energy-exporters-race-to-lead-in-global-hydrogen-trade/