The news of Linde’s soon-to-be-acquired 20% stake in ITM Power is a very interesting investment indeed. Not only is it a sign of the continued strength of ITM Power and a deepening of its five-year relationship with Linde, as its CEO refers to, it’s also another move into the hydrogen energy space by a Tier One industrial gases major.
In January (2019) we saw Air Liquide – via wholly-owned subsidiary the Hydrogen Company – acquire a stake in hydrogen generation technology specialist Hydrogenics Corporation on a private placement basis. Following completion, Air Liquide’s interest in Hydrogenics was expected to be approximately 18.6%.
It also saw the appointment of Air Liquide’s Pierre-Etienne Franc to the Hydrogenics Board of Directors, effective immediately.
At the same time, Hydrogenics entered into a technology and business development agreement with Air Liquide to jointly develop PEM electrolysis technologies for growing hydrogen energy markets around the globe. This kind of agreement is echoed in today’s announcement from ITM Power; it has entered into a 50/50 joint venture with Linde to focus on delivering green hydrogen to large scale industrial projects.
We also saw Linde invest in Swiss green hydrogen producer and supplier Hydrospider in August, taking a 10% stake in the company and reaffirming its commitment to hydrogen mobility in the process. Owned equally by H2 Energy and Alpiq, now with a 40% share each to Linde’s 10%, Hydrospider is building Switzerland’s first commercial hydrogen production plant.
It’s all a sign of the times, and the increasing emphasis placed on hydrogen as part of the clean energies transition. With its unrivalled expertise in the field of hydrogen and the conviction that hydrogen will have a key role to play in the future energy mix, it’s no surprise that the industrial gas heavyweights are making such investments and leveraging their unique synergies.
Indeed, upon his appointment to the Hydrogenics Board in February, Franc reflected, “The Air Liquide Group has been a pioneer in the development of the hydrogen industry and, like Hydrogenics, is convinced that the sector will play a key role in the fight against global warming.”
Today’s announcement is another affirmation of this growing feeling. For the gases industry, the hydrogen energy sector is not only a natural fit, it’s a major opportunity in spreading its investments and ensuring its positioned today for tomorrow’s growth. Watch this space…