Morgan Stanley mener, at brugen af brint som en grøn energikilde få stor betydning for klimaet, men også for investorer. Brint kan reducere CO2-udledningen med 6 gigaton, eller 10 pct., indtil 2050, og det kan skabe et marked på 2500 milliarder dollar. I Europa er der etableret 10 fonde, der fokuserer på brint, mod kun en fond for to år siden. Men det er et marked i sin vorden, og der hersker stor usikkerhed om de teknologier, der vil blive afgørende. Brint er forholdsvis billig, men hele infrastrukturen kræver enorme investeringer, f.eks. for at gøre flymotorer egnede til at bruge brint. Gevinsten kommer på langt sigt. Derfor er brint-markedet for alvor et stock-picking marked – for hvem overlever på langt sigt? Morgan Stanley mener, at investorer bør fokusere på virksomheder, der kan skabe resultater på mellemlangt sigt, herunder kemikoncerner, og de selskaber, der skal inspicere brint-selskaberne.
The Promise of Green Hydrogen
Sustainably generated hydrogen has great promise as a fuel where electricity alone won’t suffice, but the road to its broad adoption remains complicated for investors to navigate.
Jessica Alsford, Global Head of Sustainability Research at Morgan Stanley.
Ed Stanley, Head of Thematic Research at Morgan Stanley.
Jessica Alsford: So why is it that the debates around green hydrogen seem to have intensified over the last 6 to 12 months?
Ed Stanley: Great question. Massive, centralized support and road mapping in the form of the European Hydrogen Strategy and the US Infrastructure Bill simultaneously thrust hydrogen to center stage around the world.
But the froth has come and gone to some extent from most of these hydrogen names. And so now it’s a really interesting time to be relooking at the space from a stock picking perspective. The number of dedicated hydrogen thematic funds is really beginning to accelerate as well.
We’ve reached 10 hydrogen funds in Europe from only 1 two years ago, and many of the pure play equities that these funds are or will be buying are pretty illiquid, which we expect will lead to further volatility in due course for single name equities. The electrolyzer stocks are up to two thirds of their highs, so the reason why now is that as the market froth subsides, we’re beginning to see these thematic alpha opportunities all the way along the supply chain in hydrogen.
Jessica Alsford: Now, projections by the Hydrogen Council suggest that green hydrogen could enable a global emissions reduction of around 6 gigatons by 2050 – so almost 10% of current global emissions. It also has the potential for unlocking something like 30 million jobs and $2.5T of associated revenues. And yet, despite this huge potential, it does feel that we’re still at a very early stage. So why is that? What are some of the challenges around the wider adoption of green hydrogen?
Ed Stanley: That’s right, and I don’t think you can fault the ambition. The Hydrogen Council, as you mentioned, is over 200 member companies and they have a clearly defined goal and they’re pulling in the same direction. And increasingly, governments are also walking the talk.
I guess, though, when you ask our analysts what the greatest hindrances are, if I had to boil them down to two factors, it would be these:
First, the lack of standards, and that really means we have dual investment and thus potentially wasted investment going on as each stakeholder has their own vested interests on whether to use PEM or alkaline electrolysis, for example; or whether to retrofit existing pipe networks or to rebuild from scratch. So, a lack of agreement on these dichotomies is a risk of diluting the early stage growth and investment.
The second is much simpler, actually, it’s economics. Costs for renewable energy, predominantly wind and solar, that feed these very power hungry upstream electrolyzers have fallen substantially in cost – over 90% decline in 10 years. But it still requires cost per unit breakthroughs across the rest of the supply chain; from ammonia, for example, or redesigning jet engines to make it viable, particularly for publicly listed companies to make the necessary investments.
Ultimately, we should probably expect very generous subsidies for some time if we are to hit that 6 gigatons value, you mentioned.
Jessica Alsford: So there are challenges, but also clearly opportunities as well. Where do you think the most value can be created and how should investors participate in this market?
Ed Stanley: Again, our analysts obviously have their own single stock preferences, of course. But if I were to take a step back and look at the supply chain holistically, it’s a question of relative risk reward. For example, upstream, some electrolyzer names have over 100% upside in our view, but that has to be taken in the context of an ongoing debate, as I mentioned, into which electrolyzer technology will become the industry standard, and so at risk potentially putting all your eggs in one basket. At the other end of the spectrum, downstream, rail and aviation has potential, but with extremely long time horizons, which risk compounding forecasting errors several decades away.
So in my mind, some of the best plays are midstream – the chemical names, for example, with best-in-class green ammonia platforms. And you can see that in their excellent intellectual property positioning relative to the rest of the supply chain.
Other subsectors include the inspection companies, which will benefit to the tune of 0.5% to 1% of all global hydrogen capex being spent on safety testing. And that’s irrespective of which technology or country is the first to roll out. And we don’t believe some of those fundamentals are being priced in. So given there’s a still very high degree of uncertainty as this technology rolls out, our preference is for midstream and particularly technology and country agnostic companies.