40000

Fuel Cell Systems

deployed for electric transport

91

Hydrogen Stations

built since 2016

100%

Recyclable

All of Plug Power products are recyclable and/or reusable

View Our Analysis

The Path to Drawdown: Fuel Cells

Internal combustion engine vehicles have dominated the automotive landscape since the 1920s. But today, that’s changing. Thanks to supportive policies and falling costs, there are millions of electric vehicles (EVs) on the road. The difference in their impact on the climate is remarkable. Compared to gas-powered vehicles, CO2 emissions drop by 50% if an EV’s power comes from the conventional power grid. If powered by solar energy, emissions are cut by 95%.

While electric passenger cars and vans can be powered using lithium-ion batteries, there are other segments in the transportation sector that are more energy-intensive and harder to decarbonize. These include long-haul transport, shipping, and aviation. For these segments, hydrogen fuel cells will play an important role.

Hydrogen is an energy carrier that can be produced by using electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen atoms. “Green hydrogen” is the process of obtaining hydrogen by using renewable power, which displaces hydrogen produced from fossil fuels. If the world is to keep temperature rises below 1.5 degrees Celsius, green hydrogen needs to account for 12% of final energy use by 2050 (p. 24). And for this to happen, global electrolyser capacity -- that’s the system that breaks down water molecules into hydrogen -- needs to expand rapidly:

  • <::marker> 0.3 GW of electrolyser capacity exists today
  • <::marker> 5,000 GW of electrolyser capacity will be needed by 2050

That’s a CAGR of 39.8% between 2021 and 2050

What We Want to See Improve

Track Emissions

Plug Power professes (p. 13) to share the responsibility of developing new methods of generating clean energy that will offset GHG emissions. We applaud this commitment, but wonder why Plug Power doesn’t track and publish emissions from its own operations. For investors who are worried about climate change to be able to evaluate their climate impact, Plug Power should track overall GHG emissions as well as the emissions they avoid through their products.

Set Clear Sustainability Targets

We applaud Plug Power’s ambitious targets to expand their green hydrogen production, and think that this is the right approach. On the other hand, we would like to see them set equally clear and ambitious sustainability targets by concrete timeframes. In particular, we want to see them commit to reducing absolute GHG emissions by a substantial amount by the end of this decade, and eventually reaching zero emissions.

Reduce Supply Chain Emissions

Plug Power’s ESG report (p. 24) contains responsibilities they expect companies in their supply chain to adhere to. But this supply chain responsibility contains no clause about climate or emissions. We want to see the reduction of carbon footprint be made into a prominent part of Plug Power’s supplier code of conduct, which would pressure suppliers & distributors to cut emissions.

Related Hydrogen Stocks in the Climate Index

View All Climate Index Stocks →

Allocated Company Description

1.41%

Plug Power (PLUG)

Plug Power makes hydrogen fuel cells and fueling stations for heavy-duty vehicles and trucks - an important solution for decarbonizing transport

0.35%

Ballard Power Systems (BLDP)

Ballard Power makes hydrogen fuel cells for hard-to-electrify transportation like buses and ships. It’s a crucial solution for decarbonizing transport

0.03%

Advent Technologies Holdings, Inc. (ADN)

ADN makes components that improve the performance of hydrogen fuel cells. Fuel cells are key to decarbonizing aviation, heavy-duty automotive, and shipping

0.02%

Fusion Fuel Green PLC (HTOO)

Fusion Fuel Green offers hydrogen to customers that operate green hydrogen plants. Hydrogen is a key energy source for hard-to-electrify transportation

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