Hydrogen Tech Expo: Evidence of growing momentum, with platinum set for key role as a transition metal
26 October 2023
WPIC attended the Hydrogen Technology Exhibition hosted in Bremen, Germany. The event had 500 exhibitors, 200 speakers and 8,000 delagates in attendance. The expo highlighted the hydrogen economy is building momentum. Participants highlighted key developments in decarbonisation policy over the past twelve months which are expected to accelerate currently disappointing levels of FID. Green H2 electrolysis is expected to increase 30-fold to ~500 GW by 2035 while the levelised cost will reach parity with grey H2 in the next decade. Accordingly, we expect hydrogen applications to account for up to 20% of total platinum demand by 2030 with FCEV accounting for the majority of this consumption. This report offers a snapshot of developments in fuel cell use in automotive transport from the Expo.
The UK’s Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) presented a cost study on battery (LFP and NMC) and fuel cell drivetrains for large SUVs and Vans. APC expects a 300-mile fuel cell system to reduce installed costs by ~50% to 2030 (inset, left), while battery costs are expected to decrease between 21% and 27%. APC determined fuel cells’ cost per mile economics are viable for “premium” SUVs and commercial vans. APC forecasts FCEV production (excl. HDV) to reach 1.4 million by 2035f, but concurrently noted rising BEV penetration will cause lithium supply constraints (link). In a lithium constrained market, APC suggests FCEV production could reach 5.9 million vehicles by 2035f. The WPIC forecasts LV and LCV fuel cell penetration of 3.2% in 2035f (link). WPIC’s forecast aligns aggregated regional hydrogen roadmaps (Fig. 1, overleaf), and is between APC’s FCEV market share forecasts of 1% to 6% (Fig. 4).
AVL presented developments in heavy duty transport where fleet owners want the benefits of a diesel truck without the emission penalties. Notably, the technology provider is witnessing rapid growth amongst the after-market and retrofit players. Aftermarket firms offer more flexibility to meet customer specific needs whilst heavy-duty fuel cell mobility remains nascent. As heavy-duty demand scales beyond 100,000 units annually from 2030, AVL expects to see larger automakers enter the market as they are better placed to drive efficiencies through standardisation (inset, right). With economies of scale and improved power densities, AVL expects fuel cell system costs to decrease ~EUR300 per kW to ~EUR80 per kW in the next decade (Fig. 6) reinforcing further demand growth and a high-single digit implied HD fuel cell penetration rate by 2035f (WPIC: 10%).
The ongoing development across the hydrogen value chain seen at the Hydrogen Tech Expo reinforced our forecasts that hydrogen could account for up to 20% of total platinum demand by 2030.
Platinum’s attraction as an investment asset arises from:
- WPIC research indicates the platinum market entering a period of consecutive deficits from 2023.
- Platinum can be considered a proxy for investing in the growing hydrogen economy given its use in electrolysers and fuel cells.
- Platinum supply remains challenged, hampered by electricity shortages in South Africa and sanctions against Russia
- Automotive platinum demand growth should continue due principally to substitution in gasoline vehicles.
- The platinum price remains historically undervalued and significantly below both gold and palladium.
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