PowerSpot: United Hydrogen

July 21, 2020

Plug Power recently acquired United Hydrogen Group, one of the largest privately held merchant hydrogen producers in North America. It was the first independent company to offer a full suite of capabilities in liquid hydrogen production, distribution and logistics.The company has the capability to produce 6.4 tons of hydrogen each day with plans to increase that capacity to 10 tons daily in the near future, as well as plans for further expansion. Bringing a wealth of talent and expertise, the acquisition of United Hydrogen Group significantly enhances Plug Power’s capabilities in hydrogen generation, liquefaction and distribution logistics.

Today, we’d like to share an interview with Brent Koski, former COO at United Hydrogen, now VP, Hydrogen Energy located atPlug Power’s Tennessee facility.

United Hydrogen Brent Koski
Brent and his wife, Regan, enjoying a socially-distanced meal.
Brent, you have been with United Hydrogen for the last 12 years. Can you tell us one of the most extraordinary or unusual experiences you have had during your time with the company? 

Sometimes it seemed like everything was extraordinary and unusual! Being a part of a company that started from a concept and grew to a liquid hydrogen business that is now integrated with Plug Power is extraordinary in its own right. By all accounts, it took a group of amazing minds to bring us to today’s success levels. There are exceptionally high barriers to entry in a market that is marked by only a few extremely large, highly competitive, competitors.

What made you want to work in hydrogen as opposed to other renewables?

There had been a lot of discussions about Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV’s) in the early 2000’s. As a result, I had done a little research on fuel cells and how they worked. I found it fascinating that they provided power and drinking water on the Apollo missions and motive power seemed like a logical conclusion.

What is unique about the team at United Hydrogen? 

The United Hydrogen team is unique in many ways, but most importantly in the way we deal with challenges that come up in the business. Our team is accustomed to jumping in with both feet, across disciplines, to get things done. It’s a necessity when you start out as a true greenfield business. For example, at one time, our plant operator also provided all the maintenance at the plant, filled the trailer and jumped in the truck to make the deliveries to customers.

What excites you most about becoming part of Plug Power? 

The shared vision of our companies excites me the most. Plug Power, as you know, is the largest fuel cell producer in the world – truly driving the hydrogen economy. A robust hydrogen economy is the vision of United Hydrogen too. We just approached it from the other side. With the two companies coming together we will be able to advance the hydrogen economy faster  and more efficiently.

If you could go back and give your 21-year-old self a valuable piece of advice, what would you say? 

Don’t be afraid to take risks. Always be on the lookout for your passion. After you find it, holding on with both hands will be the best ride of your life.

What energizes you most about the potential for hydrogen in our world? 

The true gravity of how realizing that potential will change the world. Having the ability to help industrial and developing countries alike realize energy independence while decarbonizing energy is exciting. 

This kind of entrepreneurial spirit meshes so well with the whole Plug Power team. We’re excited to see what the next few years hold for all of us and the markets we serve.