In Massachusetts, Lux Research in a new report asks “Hyundai, Toyota Lead in Hydrogen Innovation – But Is Anyone Following?” in going pessimistic on the development of the hydrogen economy.
“A few automakers led by Toyota are putting their money where their mouth is, but the rest of the value chain lags behind by orders of magnitude,” said Cosmin Laslau, Lux Research Director, Research Products, and lead author of the report titled, “Innovating and Networking in Fuel Cells: Analyzing the Key Players in Today’s Hydrogen Infrastructure Value Chain.”
“Fuel cell firms received only $160 million from VCs and private equity in 2015, while the U.S. Department of Energy awarded $100 million for R&D, and leading hydrogen firms spent a mere $70 million on R&D,” he added.
Some bright spots on the Hydrogen sun?
Automakers top the charts in hydrogen infrastructure innovation with a 40% share of hydrogen infrastructure patents, as they look to the promise of cars with no carbon emissions. And, there’s definite support from Japanese and South Korean automakers, with Toyota and Hyundai in the lead. Japan leads nations in hydrogen infrastructure innovation with a 45% share, while Korea accounts for 25%, and the U.S. and U.K. hold a 10% share each, according to Lux.
Japan — the Big Cheese or Lone Wolf?
Within automakers, says the Lux report, the strongest relationships formed are between Japan’s big three: Toyota, Honda, and Nissan. Toyota is not only at the central point of partnerships with other carmakers but also has alliances with heavy vehicles maker Hino, specialists like FirstElement Fuel, and industrial gas incumbents like Air Liquide. But is Japan the lone wolf — developing technology that may not see adoption in the rest of the world?
OK, there’s the hydrogen car, but when will the Hydrogen Network arrive?
According to Lux, it is more about the hydrogen network and industrial gas giants like Air Liquide, Air Products and Linde playing a central role by virtue of the supply agreements and development partnerships with OEMs – typically around deploying some initial fueling infrastructure together.
Why the Hydrogen Hold up?
Hydrogen? It’s been a casualty to a great extent of the drop in fossil fuel prices and crude’s stubborn “New Normal” at $50 per barrel. Just a few years back, sub-$2 per kilo costs for hydrogen looked like they would support a market — but consumers are buying lots of new cars and the rising SUV sales figures have been far outstripping climate-conscious EVs, and sales of hydrogen cars have just refused to take off.
Looking at Proton Power
We looked at Proton Power and its hydrous pyrolysis process for super low-cost hydrogen, in a deep-dive, here.
And you can see the very latest in our Mutli-Slide Guide to Proton Power, which you can see here as presented by CEO Sam Weaver on the ABLC stage.
The Hydrogen Spring that became a Year without a Summer
Back in 2014, it was reminiscent of 2009’s Summer of Algae, when those technologies were coming out of the woodwork. We appeared to be in the Hydrogen Spring.Every time we write about them, more pop up, like a Prairie Dog town. We looked at comers like Proton Power and Sierra Energy’s technology, here.
And we checked it out again, here, in Up, Up, and Away: This year’s Amazing Hydrogen Ascent. We asked “Could the hydrogen balloon be rising any faster”. But we cautioned “what, if anything, is just hot air?”
The Hydrogen Wall
Forget the hydrogen economy, we cautioned, there might not even be a very large drop-in biofuels economy if more hydrogen resource isn’t developed. We asked: Think affordable, available, sustainable carbon is the biggest barrier to the growth of biofuels? In the case of drop-in biofuels, the biggest challenge might be finding enough hydrogen.
Top 10 emerging technology developments in the Hydrogen Economy
Stanford team hits 30% record for storing solar energy in hydrogen fuel
Ants! Run for your lives! Or, perhaps, are ants the key players in the Hydrogen Economy?
BP green hydrogen project needs Germany to update laws to reflect GHG savings
Short on sustainable hydrogen? Here comes new water-splitting tech to save the day
Indiana University researchers use bio-catalysts to produce hydrogen
Sierra Energy picks up key grant For Hydrogen Fuel Research
Fuel Cell Energy’s hydrogen delivery system now available to support fuels cells for road transport
Centre for Process Innovation leads EU project to convert food waste into hydrogen
Virginia Tech researchers develop method to produce cellulosic hydrogen