Hydrogen Fuel Cell Day: A Look Back at the Plug Symposium

October 8, 2019

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Day is upon us, and it’s one of our favorite days of the year. To mark the occasion, we’re taking a look back at our first annual Plug Symposium, which took place in September. Plug Power has seen tremendous growth in 2019, and the Plug Symposium provided the perfect opportunity to demonstrate that growth for our friends and partners. 

Plug Power Management Team

High points from the event include Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh taking the stage to unveil our plan to move towards $1 billion in yearly revenue by 2024. We also announced a global partnership with ENGIE, as well as the  signing of a major agreement with United Hydrogen. Needless to say, it was a busy week! For those of you who weren’t able to attend, below are some of the highlights from the Plug Power team during the Symposium:

Andy Marsh (CEO), on Plug Power’s successes

“We have 28,000 units deployed that have operated over 270 million hours. . . . We’ve driven a billion miles. We’ve been on the road a great deal of the time. We’ve built over 80 hydrogen stations, done 22 million fuelings with our products, more than anyone else in the world. And every day we use 22 tons of hydrogen. That’s more liquid hydrogen than NASA uses.”

Andy Marsh (CEO), on Plug Power’s reach

“If your car was built in Spartanburg, South Carolina with BMW or in Fayette, Alabama with Mercedes, or Chattanooga, Tennessee with Volkswagen, or Spring Valley, Tennessee with GM, it probably was touched by a Plug Power fuel cell.”

Andy Marsh (CEO), on the economics of fuel cell adoption

“As you put more vehicles in your fleet, the costs per vehicle for fuel cell electric vehicles continue to decline, while electric vehicles remain the same and sometimes increases. So, there is a strong value proposition for fuel cell electric vehicles for commercial applications. And long term, we believe this will be a $300 billion opportunity between our material handling, our stationery, and the long-term transportation market. And I think we demonstrate [the latter] with DHL. We’ll be putting 100 vehicles on the road with StreetScooter and DHL next year.”

Jose Luis Crespo (VP of Global Sales), on opportunities in the material handling market

“With $30 billion in global total available market, more than 6 million forklifts deployed globally that we can retrofit, and more than 1.5 million forklifts sold annually just in 2018, we have a tremendous opportunity for growth in front of us. In that light, our plans to deploy 25,000 forklifts annually in 2024 and $750 million in revenue are very achievable.”

Keith Schmid (COO), on new markets for Plug Power

“Even more exciting—and certainly most exciting to me—is leveraging our capabilities, this platform that we’ve built, into new markets… We’re moving into on-road vehicles, port applications, and large scale stationary. In all three of these markets, we have social trends and regulations that are driving large customers to actively seek a greener footprint. And that’s accelerating the adoption of zero emission technologies across the board. The addition of these new markets for Plug Power represents a ten-fold increase in our overall market opportunity, from $30 billion to $300 [billion].”

Tim Cortes (VP of Hydrogen Energy Systems), on scaling to meet hydrogen demand

“The metrics . . . clearly show that we’ve been able to scale our engineering, our deployment, and our operations of our hydrogen business . . . and it’s become a key enabler for the growth of our fuel cell sales.”

“In that time, we have seen 10X growth and almost 200 percent annual growth rate for hydrogen. So, our fuel cell electric vehicle growth within the next five years will definitely drive a demand for dramatic increases in the number of fueling stations and hydrogen consumed. Based on the growth plans . . . we’re projecting that the number of fueling stations will grow more than 6X and the amount of hydrogen needed and the demand will be more than 4X over what we see today. . . . Hydrogen will be a large portion of our growing business.”

Paul Middleton (CFO) on macro trends that are driving hydrogen fuel cell adoption

“To achieve the growth we are forecasting, there’s really two fundamental factors. . . . there’s an increasing focus to move to green power solutions and the total cost of ownership is coming down, which makes the commercial proposition increasingly compelling. In addition, in many cases, fuel cells address unmet customer needs, given the focus on increasing asset utilization and speed of throughput.”

“The growing social maturation around the globe [is] facilitating adoption of better environmental solutions. This is reflected in new regulations emerging around the world to curtail emissions. These trends are coupled with an increasing number of participants and overall investments being made into the hydrogen economy.”

“And, when you consider all these factors in conjunction with the growing customer needs that are not being met, like other disruptive technologies, fuel cells will become an everyday part of our life and in many cases, it’s a neighbor that will drive other disruptive technologies, like driverless transportation, automated delivery vehicles, and drone applications. These new modes of transportation and mobility are happening now and will only accelerate.”

Sanjay Shrestha (CSO) on Plug Power’s unparalleled market experience

“Seventy percent reduction in cost in the last ten years. Fifty percent improvement in reliability since the last five years. Ten [times] increase in revenue since 2011, based on the guidance that Paul just talked about. We have become the largest buyer of liquid hydrogen in the world and we have accumulated over 1 billion miles of field data. Nobody, I think, in the industry can say that. That is a lot of know-how, a lot of experience that allows us to go from one market to the next and I think our growth is somewhat unlimited in terms of where we can take it, and we have the largest fleet of the fuel cell system and associated hydrogen infrastructure and we’ve been fortunate to create the first market for the fuel cell industry and delivering rapid growth.”

As you can see, at Plug Power, we believe the sky’s the limit for the industry, and we’re all-in to make it happen. Follow along on Twitter for all the latest—including breaking news, Hydrogen Fuel Cell Day (and Week!) content, and more.