18. January 2021 | 09:54 CET
Enapter, NEL ASA, Bayer - the future can begin!
Without a doubt, hydrogen will become one of the most important energy sources in the coming decades. According to a study by the Hydrogen Council, demand for hydrogen will increase eightfold by 2050. According to this study, hydrogen could account for one-fifth of global final energy consumption. Some listed stocks' valuations have already risen to dizzying heights due to the very optimistic forecasts for the future. In addition, a fierce battle for the best technologies and patents is going on at the moment. Some of the well-known companies will fall by the wayside, and new ones will move up.
time to read: 3 minutes by Stefan Feulner
"[...] Why should a modular electrolyzer cost more than a motorcycle? [...]" Sebastian-Justus Schmidt, CEO and Founder, Enapter AG
Made in Germany
Enapter AG is currently well-positioned in the market. The Company's vision is to use German technology to produce green hydrogen more cheaply than the competition. The Company wants to achieve this with its innovative Anion Exchange Membrane (AEM) electrolysis. With this technology, which is based on modularity, it is possible to produce electrolysers and stacks that can be scaled up to larger units more efficiently and cost-effectively. The software developed in-house by Enapter AG is another significant asset. The perfect combination with the powerful hardware results in a modern energy system. Many individual electrolyser or stack units form an extensive system and are controlled uniformly via the software. Enapter plans to mass-produce its electrolyser by 2022 at the latest. To do this, it plans to open a factory in North Rhine-Westphalia to produce up to 100,000 units a year.
Patents and technology give a head start
According to the Company's management, it has a technology lead over the competition of 3 to 5 years. The Company invests 6 to 8% of sales annually in research and development to build on this. Enapter has long-standing research collaborations with the Universities of Pisa, Madrid, and Munich's Technical University. Enapter also collaborates on various research projects with the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), and the Jülich Research Center. In addition to its strong R&D work, the Company boasts a growing patent portfolio of approved and filed patents. The most crucial patent protects the core technology, AEM electrolysis with a dry cathode, in Europe, the USA, China and India. The market capitalization of Enapter AG is currently just under EUR 690 million.
Spaniards keep their word
In contrast to Enapter, NEl ASA currently produces much larger electrolysers. The main application area is centralized large industrial solutions. We reported on the preliminary agreement from Spain in early November, and the order has now been confirmed. NEL Hydrogen Electrolyser, a division of Norwegian hydrogen specialist NEL ASA, has received a EUR 13.5 million order from Spanish energy Company Iberdrola. The order is for a 20 MW PEM solution for a fertilizer project in Spain that will be supplied with green electricity. Iberdrola, one of the world's largest utilities, has launched a project with one of the world's leading fertilizer manufacturers, Fertiberia, to build the most extensive green hydrogen plant in Europe. In Puertollano, Spain, a 100 MW photovoltaic system, a battery system with a storage capacity of 20 MWh, and a 20 MW electrolyser are to be built. The hydrogen will be used mainly for the production of fertilizer.
Ready for the future
Currently, Bayer AG is doing everything it can to make the relatively modest year of 2020 a thing of the past. Despite the still pending settlement in the glyphosate lawsuit, the Leverkusen-based Company is eager to tap into new growth markets. A healthy boost is expected from gene and cell therapies in the coming years. Many pharmaceutical companies are intensively researching these therapies. They are intended to enable new therapeutic approaches for widespread diseases such as heart failure and provide cures for rare diseases rather than merely alleviating symptoms. In 2020, 25 collaborations were announced in this area, and 7 compounds are currently being developed.
The golden straw
The hottest topic currently is the collaboration and service agreement with CureVac, which was signed at the beginning of January. CureVac is researching the Corona vaccine CVnCoV, for which the pivotal Phase III clinical trial began in mid-December. CureVac expects initial results at the end of the first quarter of 2021. The pharmaceutical giant is entering the game through the back door. Now Bayer is considering starting the production of Corona vaccines. With its global production network, the pharmaceutical giant would undoubtedly be in a position to produce vaccines in larger quantities. In the event of approval of the CureVac vaccine, the EU Commission has already secured 405 million doses for the EU countries.