Emerging space: hydrogen energy

Private markets are in constant evolution. New areas rise and fall over the course of just a few decades. Given the fluidity of the private markets, it can be difficult for analysts to identify and track tomorrow’s most promising sectors. So, our analysts have created a methodology.

Definition and categorizing

These

Emerging spaces

. We’ll be discussing hydrogen energy. This space is rapidly gaining popularity.

Is H20 the key to energy independence and net zero?

In the wake a pandemic, net-zero targets from the Paris Agreement have taken centre stage. And the world seems united behind a controversial solution to the problem of hydrogen.

Governments, industry, automobile manufacturers, and airlines are all praising the gas’ potential to replace fossil-fuelled fuels and decarbonize society. March:

Delta

Airbus

Joe Biden has committed roughly $1 million towards the development of a hydrogen aircraft.

$10 billion of funding for hydrogen

— A fraction of Europe and Asia’s expected spending.

Interestingly, support to hydrogen crosses political boundaries. Everybody is supporting hydrogen, from Joe Biden and big oil companies like BP/Shell to Republican senators.

Biden’s four hydrogen hubs

.

Some also love hydrogen’s potential to be traded worldwide as a commodity because it can store and transport energy. This will redraw the geopolitical lines in order to improve energy independence and energy independence.

A hot topic since Russia’s invasion Ukraine

.

However, not everyone is sold. Elon Musk described hydrogen fuel cells to be “mind-bogglingly insane” and critics questioned hydrogen’s “clean credentials”, as well its ability “to catch up in costs, technology, infrastructure and other renewables.”

How does hydrogen energy work and what is hydrogen?

Hydrogen is the most abundant element on earth. However it almost always forms bonds with other compounds. It must be in the gaseous H2 state to be usable as a fuel. This means that you will need an energy input in order to extract it from naturally occurring molecules. Hydrogen can be isolated to create electricity or stored in fuel cells to transport other renewable energy.

Is hydrogen renewable energy?

Here lies hydrogen’s big anasterisk – the answer is it depends.

All hydrogen gas produces no greenhouse gas emissions. However, hydrogen is only so green because hydrogen production requires energy.

Hydrogen energy’s color names are based on their emission. “Black hydrogen” emits most CO2 while “Green hydrogen” is fully renewable. The three most frequently discussed hydrogen forms are: green, blue, or gray.

Green hydrogenis created by electrolysis using renewable energy

Blue hydrogen

The carbon capture and storage (CCUS), is a method that captures CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.

Gray hydrogen

Uses fossil fuels, with no emissions

This color palette is behind much hydrogen’s criticisms, as well as its broad-ranging support. The hydrogen industry is seen as a promising alternative to fossil fuels. Critics point out that hydrogen can be used to reduce carbon footprints and reuse existing infrastructure. However, hydrogen’s environmentalists are critical of the use of hydrogen for climate mitigation.

What are some of the advantages and disadvantages associated with hydrogen energy?

As hydrogen can decarbonize challenging sectors of society, such as air travel, long-haul shipping, and heavy industry, enthusiasts will be pointing to it as the solution. This is a great step to take, considering the importance of decarbonizing these industries in order to achieve emission targets.

But it has its own disadvantages. It remains to be seen if infrastructure, supply chains, or technology are able support it. The majority of hydrogen today is produced from high-carbon fuels, but this is changing through increased government support.

Here is a close look at hydrogen energy.

Quick stats


Companies


116


Deals


429


Capital investment


$1.64B


Investors


398

Key growth metrics


$1.79B

Capital invested

V YoY


62

Deals

V -15.07% YoY


$17.39M

Median deal size (TTM)

232.33% YoY


$54.36M

Median post valuation

V @76.99% YoY

Trending hydrogen energy companies


Plug Energy

HQ Latham NY

Leadership: Paul Middleton, Chief Financial Officer

Get the latest deal for February 2021

The company was founded in 1997.

Plug Power

Is a developer of hydrogen-fuel cell technology. With the full-service GenKey Solution, customers can increase hydrogen production, lower operating expenses and reduce carbon footprint.


Ekona

HQ: Vancouver, Canada

Leadership: Christopher Reid (Chairman Executive Officer & president)

Latest deal: Series a (February 2022).

Founded in 2017

Ekona

A developer of renewable energy generation technology to produce industrial-scale Hydrogen. Their technology makes hydrogen that’s both cheap and 100% pure. It converts natural gas from hydrogen. This allows industrial clients to benefit from clean energy.

Ekona, a company led by

Baker Hughes

. This money will be used by the Fund to Advance the Development of a Novel Methane Pyrolysis Technology Platform to Produce Cleaner and Cheaper Turquoise Hydrogen.

HQ Oslo Norway

Leadership: Jon Lokke, Chief Executive Officer

Latest deal: Private placement (March 2022)

It was established in 1927.

Nel

A hydrogen company that is focused on the production, storage and distribution of hydrogen from renewable sources. Their solutions encompass the entire value-chain, from hydrogen production technologies through to the manufacturing and distribution of hydrogen fueling pumps. Nel received $1.5 Billion NOK (roughly $170M) of deployment capital in March from undisclosed sources.

Most active investors


Innovate UK

HQ in Swindon, England

Hydrogen energy investments: 9

Latest deal in hydrogen energy: June 2021

Innovate UK, a national UK innovation agency, was established in 2007. The grant-inaid from the UK government supports the non-departmental public body. The organization promotes productivity, economic growth, and helps businesses grow through the creation and commercialization of innovative products, processes, or services.

The investment has been made in

H2GO Power

The inventor of hydrogen storage technology for safe and reliable power supply.


AP Ventures

HQ London, England

Hydrogen energy investments: 9

Latest deal in hydrogen energy: January 2022

Founded in 2018

AP Ventures

London-based venture capital company. Since 2014, it has been focusing on the creation of high growth technology companies along the entire hydrogen value chain. It aims to address industry’s issues. The firm invests primarily in hydrogen production and storage. It also provides hydrogen applications that address structural issues.

AP Ventures participated in a VC round later in its development.

EH Group

, a company that develops fuel cell technology that allows hydrogen production to be scaled at a much lower cost.


Mitsui & Company

Tokyo, Japan.

Hydrogen energy investments: 5

Latest deal in hydrogen energy: April 2022

Tokyo, Japan

Mitsui & Co

It is a general trading business that invests primarily in metal resources, machinery, chemicals, and energy. On April 12, 2011, the firm participated the fourth round in funding.

Lhyfe

, a developer and manufacturer of turnkey solutions that can produce green hydrogen without any emission.

Get to Know Some of PitchBook’s Other Emerging Spaces

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