Shares of hydrogen fuel cell maker Plug Power (NASDAQ:PLUG) are under pressure today, and it may be because of a newly announced liquid hydrogen fuel cell collaboration. As of 11:50 a.m. EDT, Plug Power shares were down 6.2%.
In early June Plug Power and French automaker Renault (OTC:RNSDF) announced a new joint venture (JV) focused on creating hydrogen fuel cell-powered light commercial vehicles (LCV) and associated infrastructure in Europe. Yesterday, hydrogen fuel cell truck maker Hyzon and energy and industrial gas company Chart Industries (NYSE:GTLS) announced plans to develop long-haul heavy trucks powered by liquid hydrogen. The news means Plug may be running into competition just as it seeks to expand its hydrogen transportation business.
Plug Power's business in transportation to date has been focused on material handling equipment such as forklift trucks. The JV with Renault seeks to broaden its role in growing a hydrogen economy.
But the announcement from Chart and Hyzon could be game-changing. The companies seek to use liquid hydrogen to create a long-haul truck offering with a 1,000 mile range. The companies touted the advantages of using liquid hydrogen. In a joint statement, they said "a tank of liquid hydrogen fuels a vehicle for nearly twice the distance. Liquid hydrogen also improves a truck's payload capacity because the storage tanks weigh less."
Investors in Plug Power may find that there's more competition now than when the company announced the Renault JV. It may impact at least one of its planned growth paths as the company aims to achieve profitability.