A single letter is currently electrifying stock markets around world: "H". It represents hydrogen, the lightest and most commonly found element in the universe. When it comes to the manufacture of the molecule, the Swiss have shown a pioneering spirit: the Swiss alchemist Paracelsus was generating hydrogen as long ago as the year 1520. Today, companies right across the world are carrying out research and working with the first element in the periodic table – and the trend is upwards. That's because if hydrogen is obtained from renewable energies, the technology even promises climate neutrality. That this lends wings to any number of fantasies in an age of "Fridays for Future" movements goes without saying. Indeed, the equity market has seen the advent of a veritable boom in H2 recently, with spectacular price movements. Stocks such as Ballard Power, Nel and PowerCell have posted significant price gains in the last twelve months.
Let's take one thing at a time, though. To exploit the energy contained in hydrogen in order to generate heat or power, a converter is needed. That task is undertaken by the fuel cell. This offers a perfectly adequate solution for eco-friendly heavy goods vehicles and ships, and for the chemical and steel industries. To these can be added the hydrogen drive in cars. While considerable testing is still going on in this field, some vehicles have since already made it to series maturity. The South Korean Hyundai, for instance, recently shipped the first fuel cell truck, Xcient, to Switzerland. By 2025 a total of 1,600 vehicles of this model are to have been delivered to customers. That the technology is hitting the roads here can be attributed first and foremost to "H2 Mobilität", a support association comprising filling station operators, transport and logistics companies which was founded in 2018. It is not only an expansion in filling station infrastructure that is critical, however – there must also be sufficient H2 in stock. In Switzerland, Hydrospider, a company founded by Alpiq, H2 Energy and Linde, is responsible for the supply of hydrogen. They're very keen on the technology in Brussels, too: among the aims of the sponsored "Joint Initiative for Hydrogen Vehicles across Europe" is to bring some 300 H2 buses into operation in 22 European cities by 2023. View more information on investment solutions on the topic “Multitalented H2: A molecule conquers the world”.
Motor manufacturers such as BMW and Toyota will also be relying more on the green power source in the future. The German premium marque would like to put a small fleet of hydrogen fuel cell cars based on the X5 on the road by the end of 2022. Toyota is a step ahead: in the Mirai, the Japanese motor giant already has a "zero emissions" vehicle. Indeed, this year will see the market launch of the second generation of the five-metre saloon car. While the price is still very sporty at around CHF 90,000, Toyota is anticipating that the cost can be reduced to that of a hybrid vehicle by the time the Mirai reaches its third generation.
China is regarded as the trailblazer in matters of hydrogen. The central government's development plan provides for 5,000 H2 vehicles to be on the roads by 2020, 50,000 by 2025 and as much as a million by 2030. The Hydrogen Council, a global initiative comprising members of leading energy, transport and industrial concerns, anticipates that the threshold to the mass market for H2 cars will be crossed by the middle of the decade. In 2050 up to 400 million cars could be in circulation across the world. However, the Hydrogen Council sees the future of hydrogen lying not just in sustainable drives for vehicles, but also in its usefulness as a clean energy carrier for heat, electricity and industry. In aerospace, for instance, H2 has been used as a propellant and supplier of on-board energy since as long ago as the 1960s. This demonstrates that the potential of the "crude oil of tomorrow" is enormous.
View more information on investment solutions on the topic “Multitalented H2: A molecule conquers the world”.