Hydrogen - energy carrier of the future?

Hydrogen - energy carrier of the future?

28 April 2020Reading time: 3 minutes

The generation of energy from hydrogen is still in its infancy in various parts of the world. But the prospect of lower costs and a better infrastructure could provide a major boost to this promising energy carrier. The potential for the economy and society is vast. An upturn in the technology should also boost hydrogen stocks. With the Solactive Hydrogen Top Selection Index, investors can participate almost 1:1 in the performance of leading hydrogen companies.

At the Paris Climate Conference in 2015, 195 countries agreed to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius. But drastic measures are required to achieve this goal. Energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions must be reduced by a full 60% by 2050. This is not an easy task when you consider that the population is estimated to increase by around two billion people during this period. Our energy system must therefore undergo fundamental changes. Energy efficiency is needed and more and more renewable and low-carbon energy sources must be used.

Hydrogen: multifunctional and climate-neutral

As a "clean" and multifunctional energy carrier, hydrogen could make a significant contribution to achieving these goals. However, hydrogen is not only a low-CO2 energy carrier - its production can also be climate-neutral if renewable energy sources are used. The entire energy production from hydrogen can therefore be "green". Furthermore, the areas of application for hydrogen as an energy carrier are very broad. For example, energy generated from hydrogen can be fed directly into the power grid and thus increase the proportion of renewable energy sources in the system - or it can be used to decarbonise industry and transportation, for example.

For the conversion of hydrogen into energy a fuel cell is needed which is already used in many applications. Due to very high costs and a lack of infrastructure, the technology is still in its infancy, especially in this part of the world.

Is hydrogen picking up speed?

The latest study by the Hydrogen Council - a consortium of 18 companies from the automotive, oil and gas, industrial gas and equipment industries - from January 2020 has shown that the production of energy from hydrogen is likely to increase significantly in the near future. After all, as the report states, the cost of hydrogen solutions is expected to fall sharply within the next decade; by up to 50%. This is a much greater reduction - in less time - than was previously expected. This makes the use of hydrogen solutions attractive, even compared to conventional energy carriers.

If the use of hydrogen increases considerably, then "hydrogen shares" should also profit substantially from the upswing. In the recent past, the share prices of certain leading companies in the field of energy production from hydrogen have experienced a veritable explosion in share prices. Shares such as PowerCell or Nel have recorded significant price gains in recent months. However, the Canadian fuel cell company Ballard Power, which was able to achieve a price increase of around 200% last year, can outshine them all. However, it should be noted at this point that past performance gives no indication of future performance. Hydrogen technologies are promising - and should also offer interesting opportunities for investors.


Invest in hydrogen shares with a single transaction

Is hydrogen the energy carrier of the future? One does not know. But one thing is certain: fuel cells and hydrogen are indispensable in the energy mix of the future - and the potential for the economy and society is immense.

The euphoria about the potential of hydrogen could also attract investors. Because if the trend towards hydrogen and fuel cells soon picks up speed, the shares of the leading companies in the sector should also be boosted. But selecting the "right" hydrogen share is certainly not easy - and holding individual, often highly volatile stocks in the portfolio is often too risky for many investors. Vontobel has therefore created the Solactive Hydrogen Top Selection Index for precisely this purpose. The index comprises 15 companies that are leaders in the field of hydrogen.


The Hydrogen Top Selection Index is an index of Solactive AG and is calculated and distributed by the latter. By means of a participation certificate, investors participate almost one-to-one in potential price gains, but also in possible losses of the index. The following chart shows how the companies are selected.


Why an early investment could be worthwhile

Let's recap: If investors are convinced that hydrogen and fuel cell technology is likely to prove successful, a participation certificate on the Solactive Hydrogen Top Selection Index could be an interesting investment opportunity. The technology is still at a relatively early stage - but it has the "power" to fundamentally influence the energy sector and the economy. Positioning yourself early enough and entering when the trend could pick up could pay off for investors.

The future share performance will depend on various corporate-, industry- and economic factors. Investors should consider the risks before taking any investment decisions. The performance of the underlying might differ from investors’ expectations and lead to a potential capital loss.

30/03/2023 15:52:15


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