​Bloom Energy surges after expanding into hydrogen production

Bloom Energy Corp. soared the most in more than three months after the fuel cell maker announced plans to jump into the hydrogen market.

San Jose, California-based Bloom plans to start selling electrolyzers, machines that generate hydrogen from water, next year, according to a statement Wednesday. When powered by electricity from solar or wind facilities, the devices can create the fuel without greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, most hydrogen is produced from natural gas.

The shares climbed as much as 39 per cent, the most intraday since March 24. Rival fuel cell maker Plug Power Inc. placed a similar bet earlier this year, announcing it would buy electrolyzer company Giner ELX, along with a hydrogen producer, United Hydrogen Group Inc.

Bloom’s electrolyzers, in contrast, have been developed in-house, chief executive officer KR Sridhar said in an interview. “We bring something unique to the table in that we can both generate the hydrogen and use the hydrogen and can do both more efficiently than any other technology,” he said.

Bloom shares reached $18.26 Wednesday, the highest intraday since 2018. They were trading up 33 per cent to $17.40 at 1:05 p.m. in New York. Plug’s shares have climbed more than 60 per cent since the company announced its electrolyzer purchase last month.

Bloom plans to offer the products first in South Korea, which last year adopted a Hydrogen Economy Roadmap that calls for scaling up the use of fuel cells to run cars as well as generate electricity. The electrolyzers could be sold on their own or offered in conjunction with Bloom fuel cells configured to run on hydrogen, the first of which will be installed next year in Korea under an agreement with SK Engineering and Construction Co. Until now, Bloom’s fuel cells, which generate power through an electrochemical reaction, have run on natural gas or biogas.

“We see them as two products that can operate independently as well as together,” Sridhar said.

Bloom plans to announce its second-quarter financial results on July 28.

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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