Hydrogen industry growth in North America – insights from Regional President Rob Mamazza Ph.D.
Regional President Robert Mamazza, Ph.D., shares his insights on the evolving hydrogen industry in North America, and the coming steps for Impact Coatings in the region. With more than 20 years of experience working in the field of thin film physics, Rob highlights the opportunities and significance of being part of the green energy shift and being close to the customers.
This is the right time to join the hydrogen industry
Coming from a background in thin film physics combined with an interest in green technologies, I could not have picked a better time to join Impact Coatings and the hydrogen industry. My first involvement with clean energy came during my time pursuing my Ph.D. My research focused on optoelectronic materials for thin-film solar cells. Throughout my career, I worked on both materials and hardware to manufacture LED’s, thermoelectric generators, solar cells, and technologies for optimizing power generation, transmission, and consumption. I am an outdoors person, so to have a career that focuses on powering humanity’s future energy needs in a clean and sustainable way fits perfectly into what I want to do with my life.
After government incentives coming into place these last years, the hydrogen-related landscape in North America is now fertile. Major players in the space are forecasting impressive volumes of green hydrogen production. According to the World Economic Forum, the United States alone accounts for 13% of the global demand for green hydrogen. The 2020 McKinsey study titled ‘Road Map to a US Hydrogen Economy’ predicts that by 2030, approximately 700,000 jobs and $140 billion per year in revenue can be expected to result from H2 related activities. To be involved in green hydrogen and have commercially viable solutions is to be well-positioned in this industry. And Impact Coatings is well-positioned.
The gradual shift in hydrogen technical focus areas
Since joining Impact Coating approximately two years back, I have seen a gradual shift from fuel cells to water electrolysis in the hydrogen market. This is not to say fuel cells are no longer in the picture. They clearly are. It’s just that the percentage of overall activities going to water electrolysis is growing and of late this trend has become more pronounced. To put this into perspective, when I started with Impact Coatings, 100% of the sampling efforts were for fuel cell coatings. Now it is about 50% of the North American market. Nonetheless, we have many irons in the proverbial fire, and I expect fuel cells will soon make a comeback.
Robert Mamazza in the Coating Service Center in Linköping, Sweden.
Alleviating the hydrogen industry’s growth pains
In addition to the market’s appetite for green hydrogen increasing, governmental policies are also fueling the fire. Moving forward, we see a great possibility to capture emerging opportunities within the US green hydrogen market following the strong recent commercial and regulatory development in the region, including the USD 3 per kg green hydrogen tax credit included in the Inflation Reduction Act effective from August 2022.
Both Canada and the United States have been putting substantial amounts of money behind clean hydrogen initiatives for a while now. In 2021, the US federal government approved $8 billion in funding to DOE in support of clean hydrogen. Canada has pledged a similar amount in support of its Net Zero Accelerator Initiative to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Green hydrogen will be a big part of this. Also, a variety of local governments and municipalities are supporting hydrogen initiatives through direct funding and or tax incentives.
For players in the market wanting to build on this accelerating momentum, growth pains are to be expected. This means, there is a direct need for reliable, pre-qualified suppliers to support upcoming projects. As Impact Coatings already have traction in the hydrogen market, both globally and on US soil, we are in a very good place to become a go-to partner. From our experience around the globe, we also know that our solutions and services are built to handle the customer pain points of a quick growth spurt as hydrogen initiatives continue to drive change toward a more sustainable society.
The next step for Impact Coatings in North America – a brick-and-mortar presence
As our opportunities begin to materialize in North America, and the volume of commercial activities in the region rises, our need to have a brick-and-mortar presence becomes more important. The decision to start up a local coating center has been taken. The specific location has not yet been fully decided upon, but it will be positioned to best serve our customers. With a local foothold, we will be able to better deliver our services and meet our customers’ needs by eliminating many of the challenges associated with international logistics – such as longer ship times, difficult-to-predict exchange rates, and time differences.
I look forward to these next steps. If you are active in the hydrogen market in North America and have questions or want to discuss coming opportunities, feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert Mamazza, Ph.D.
Regional President North America