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Hydrogen Investment Growing Globally

The hydrogen industry continues the heavy investment by foreign companies in US production and manufacturing facilities. Topsoe announced plans to build an electrolyzer plant in the Richmond, VA area. The announcement was praised by Senators Kaine and Warner and Representative McClellan.  This follows announcements by companies like Nel Hydrogen and Ballard Power Systems to open facilities. 

The hydrogen provisions in the IRA and the bipartisan Infrastructure Act are bringing these companies and their money to the US market. Those investments are just now starting to take shape and the true impact will not be known for some time. 

Meanwhile, China, with over half the world’s installed capacity of electrolysis, is also boosting manufacturing and attracting foreign customers of their own, like German company Bosch and it's partnership in Bosch Hydrogen Powertrain Systems in Chongqing.

This global competition should result in more efficient products at lower costs and shorter lead times.  Couple that with the growth in wind and solar deployments around the world and the pieces are coming together for wider adoption of clean green hydrogen.  Storage and transportation are still issues that need to be better addressed.  Large industrial and transportation users will make hydrogen on site.  Midsized, merchant, and retail markets have some hurdles to overcome. 

Hydrogen has a long way to go before it is accepted for new industrial applications like steel or replacing gray hydrogen for refining and ammonia production.  I still believe the largest gains will be in high use and heavy-duty transportation like trucking and buses.  The key is to reduce the price of green hydrogen to reach parity with gray hydrogen.  All of the developments play a small part in moving the molecule forward.


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