Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

South Korean conglomerate SK Group is acquiring a 9.9-per-cent stake in Plug Power Inc. (PLUG-Q) for US$1.5-billion, sending shares in the U.S. fuel cell producer higher while sparking a rally in the hydrogen sector.

SK Group’s investment in Plug Power of Latham, N.Y., is part of a new partnership designed to speed up the development of hydrogen-powered fuel cells while also spurring the production of hydrogen as an energy source in South Korea and other Asian markets.

Plug Power shares surged on Thursday on the Nasdaq Stock Market, rising 35.1 per cent to close at US$47.29.

Story continues below advertisement

Ballard Power Systems Inc., the Burnaby, B.C.-based maker of hydrogen fuel cells, benefited from the spotlight placed on hydrogen. Ballard shares jumped 15.7 per cent on the Toronto Stock Exchange to finish at $35.64, marking the Canadian company’s highest close since May, 2002.

Plug Power and Ballard both make hydrogen fuel cells, though the focus of Plug Power’s partnership with SK Group is expected to be on hydrogen production in Asia, said MacMurray Whale, an analyst with Toronto-based Cormark Securities Inc.

China’s Weichai Power Co. Ltd. announced in late 2018 that it bought a 19.9-per-cent stake in Ballard. The two companies have set up a joint venture in Shandong province to develop fuel-cell engines for buses and long-haul trucks. “We view the involvement of major industrial groups, like SK Group with Plug (as with Weichai and Ballard) as overarching positive developments that will do much for the acceleration of deployments and adoption,” Mr. Whale said in a research note on Thursday, after Plug Power’s announcement late Wednesday.

The most common method of production uses natural gas to create “grey hydrogen,” which emits carbon dioxide. A cleaner version, “blue hydrogen,” is also produced from natural gas, but the process captures and stores carbon dioxide.

The cleanest version, “green hydrogen,” requires renewable electricity and the electrolysis of water, but currently has high costs for production.

Plug Power’s portfolio includes hydrogen fuel cells and fuelling stations, and the company has been emphasizing its strategy for the generation of green hydrogen in the years ahead.

“The current relationship with SK Group offers immediate strategic benefits to Plug Power to accelerate its expansion into Asian markets – and is intended to result in a formal joint venture by 2022,” Plug Power chief executive officer Andy Marsh said in a statement.

Story continues below advertisement

In the United States, Plug Power reached a deal in September to use hydroelectricity produced by Brookfield Renewable Partners LP under a plan to produce green hydrogen in future.

Other companies that rode Plug Power’s momentum on Thursday include FuelCell Energy Inc. and Bloom Energy.

Shares in Connecticut-based FuelCell, which specializes in on-site power generation, rose 21.9 per cent to US$14.99 on Nasdaq.

California-based Bloom expanded into hydrogen in 2020, after years of touting its technology for distributed power generation based on solid oxide fuel cells that run on natural gas – a fossil fuel. Despite being a novice in hydrogen, Bloom shares gained 10.3 per cent to US$33.56 on the New York Stock Exchange.

By contrast, Ballard’s expertise is in hydrogen technology based on the proton exchange membrane (PEM). When individual fuel cells are stacked together in a series, they become PEM fuel cell stacks. Those stacks are assembled together with other parts to create a module, also known as a fuel-cell engine.

Your time is valuable. Have the Top Business Headlines newsletter conveniently delivered to your inbox in the morning or evening. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies