PowerSpot: Giner ELX

July 23, 2020

In 2020, Plug acquired Giner ELX, one of the most experienced teams in the world in Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) electrolysis. So experienced that most of the team has worked for two decades or more in the field. The company’s offerings included the world’s largest, most efficient and cost-effective PEM hydrogen generators; grid-level renewable energy storage solutions, and on-site hydrogen generation systems for fuel cell vehicle refueling stations. The Giner ELX acquisition was in line with the Company’s vertical integration strategy in the hydrogen business laid out in September of 2019 with plans to have more than 50% of the delivered hydrogen be green hydrogen by 2024. This activity dramatically increased Plug’s overall green hydrogen supply capabilities and grew Plug’s servable addressable market, facilitating the Company’s ambitious green hydrogen goals to transition from low-carbon to zero-carbon hydrogen solutions.

Read more about Plug’s electrolyzer products.

Giner ELX Corky Mittelsteadt and Hector Maza
Toasting to a future with Plug.

In 2020, we interviewed Hector Maza and Corky Mittelsteadt. That interview is below.

We’re excited to add Giner ELX’s unique capabilities and global business experience to the Plug Power team. Today, we’d like to introduce you to two of Plug Power’s newest leadership team additions. Hector Maza was formerly VP Business Development with Giner ELX and is now VP Electrolyzer Sales with Plug Power.  Corky Mittelsteadt was formerly Chief Technology Officer with Giner ELX and is now VP Electrolyzer Technology with Plug Power.

Corky, you joined Giner 21 years ago. Can you tell us one of the most extraordinary or unusual experiences you have had during your time with the company?

Once for NASA, I was asked to develop an equivalent circuit model for the fuel cell on the Space Shuttle.  They were going to dock it to the International Space Station and wanted to share power systems.  They were particularly concerned about a large negative power surge, and the effect it would have on the fuel cell stack.  After months of work and completing the model I asked why they were concerned about a negative surge, and the answer was in case they reversed the positive and negative leads!

Hector, you have impressive global business experience, having worked in several countries over the course of your career with a variety of large and small companies. What has made you excited to work with Giner ELX for the last several years?

Thank you. When I came to Giner, Inc 8 years ago, I saw tremendous untapped opportunity, from both technology and human capital. Giner had the most advanced knowledge in electrochemistry in the world, specifically in PEM electrolysis (40+ years), and nobody outside the US Renewable Labs or Government Agencies knew about it, so it would be relatively easy to bring them onto the world stage (mainly in Europe) and show the world what we were capable of achieving. Things like 3X the current density per square centimeter than any other players, which allowed us to offer 3X the hydrogen generation capacity at much higher efficiencies than any competitor. But the truly exciting thing was the trend in electricity prices coming from renewables, which now allowed us to compete with grey hydrogen generated by reformers. This represented 200 times the Total Available Market for green hydrogen at that time.

Corky, what is unique about the team at Giner ELX?

We have all been crazy enough to dedicate much of our lives to hydrogen through some very thin times.  I don’t have to tell Plug Power employees that there were a large number of years where you wondered if hydrogen was ever going to gain traction.  I’m delighted for the team that after years of hard work and planning, we’re going to see our products deployed at a scale that can really make an impact.

Hector, what excites you most about becoming part of Plug Power?

I have known Plug for many years, while I witnessed clearly their vertical integration strategy as it unfolded, with key JV’s and acquisitions. The most exciting part for me is being part of a global team that fully understands the potential and advantages of PEM, while also being the biggest user of hydrogen outside Industrial customers today, and having the proper infrastructure for manufacturing, servicing and developing our products to the fullest. Having access to capital markets to continue building these capabilities and staying ahead of the curve is simply the icing on the cake.

This one is for both of you: What energizes you most about the potential for hydrogen in our world?

CM – I think it is the only way to solve the renewable intermittency problem.  Hydrogen at a large, global scale is the only alternative I see that allows the continued penetration of renewables.

HM – I agree, and think that Hydrogen allows us to deeply decarbonize our economy like no other molecule in the world, and thanks to the decrease in renewable electricity prices, we can do it affordably. At the end of my life, I will be able to look my kids in the eye and say “we did our part to save this planet; now it is your turn.”

Giner ELX Hector Maza
Hector in a Café at Champs Elyseés, Paris. France.

We’re excited to have Hector, Corky, and the whole Newton, MA team on board. We can’t wait to show the world what we can do together!

(updated August 21, 2023)