A trio of companies, including fossil-fuel entity Baker Hughes Co., plan to back a new fund focused on hydrogen-technology investment, just the latest example of rising investment interest tied to alternative energy sources.
Chart Industries, Inc.
and Baker Hughes
are forming the FiveT Hydrogen Fund, a clean-hydrogen-only private infrastructure fund dedicated to delivering clean hydrogen infrastructure projects at scale, the companies said.
Plug Power, a hydrogen fuel cell maker, intends to commit €160 million ($200 million). Plug Power counts Amazon
The Southern Company
among its fuel-cell customers,
Chart Industries, which has 50-plus years in making hydrogen equipment, and Baker Hughes, an oil-field services company, each intend to commit €50 million ($60 million) to the FiveT fund.
Hydrogen is not a new power source but the expansion of “green” versions of the technology has caught investor attention. The drive to create the fund is based on broader agreement that the hydrogen economy needs to build scale at speed to succeed and become a key part of the solution to building a net-zero global economy. The U.S., for instance, has pledged net-zero emissions by 2050, a target roughly in line with most industrial nations as they move to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The euro-denominated fund, offered only to qualifying and verified investors, aims to raise a total of €1 billion from both financial and industrial investors.
The fund is led by Pierre Etienne Franc, who was mostly recently the vice president of Hydrogen Energy for Air Liquide and co-secretary of the Hydrogen Council.
“Plug Power established the first commercial market for fuel cells and is now building the first green hydrogen generation network across the United States,” said Andy Marsh, CEO of Plug Power. “We believe this fund will help accelerate the construction of hydrogen infrastructure globally which will support rapid deployment of fuel cell applications.”
Plug Power shares have shot up more than 900% in the past year and are up about 4% in 2021 to date. The company was late with regulatory filings last month after it detected accounting errors in recent financial statements.
The traditional energy space has diversified in part toward renewables.
“To drive the energy transition forward requires innovative models for collaboration and investment, and new energy frontiers like hydrogen will progress faster when key players come together,” said Lorenzo Simonelli, chairman and CEO of Baker Hughes.
Baker Hughes stock is up 109% over the past year and up 4.2% so far in 2021. Chart Industries has surged 446% in the past year and remains up a robust 23% to kick off 2021.