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Hydrogen in Transportation

Elon Musk has called hydrogen fuel cells “truely silly”, “mind-bogglingly stupid”, and “staggeringly dumb” for more than half a decade. It’s widely known that hydrogen cars are less efficient than electrics. Yet, hydrogen is a growing market.

Where does the hydrogen demand come from and what’s in it for transportation? Demand is expected to increase along with the transition to cleaner and cheaper industrial production. With regard to hydrogen in mobility, I think that demand will also grow, perhaps more moderately and there is a simple reason as to why:

Batteries are heavy. The more weight you need to move the more battery weight you need to add. While the electrification of heavy duty trucks, for instance in mining, is gaining pace, batteries still can’t scale up to power container ships. Conventional lithium-ion batteries can only pack enough power to move small ships short distances, e.g. the Yara Birkeland with a deadweight of 3200 mt. At present, the size of the battery needed would likely limit the amount of cargo that could be carried, making it commercially nonviable. …

The environmental impact of steel differs from other metals because it involves creating CO2 in its core production step from iron ore to steel.

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While working in the steel industry and getting my PhD in Metallurgical Engineering, there was essentially one process. One process across the world applied by all competitors. The complexity in alloying and thermo mechanical treatment had never been greater. Some steel was created purely from scrap in electric arc furnaces. However, the core process of creating new steel from iron ore always meant using carbon to reduce iron which creates CO2 — and other greenhouse gases — as a side product. Aluminum and precious metals are refined electrolytically. This requires energy but does not create CO2 in a chemical reaction during production. …

Countercyclical entrepreneurship and venture capital investing.

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Which perspectives can be provided to investors and founders who are struggling with the consequences of the recession? How can opportunities to be identified and turned into advantages in times of uncertainty?

The downturn unfolds

Venture capital is a cyclical business by its nature of high risk and high return. As the risk appetite of LPs decreases fundraising becomes more challenging for VC firms and startups outside of healthcare than it is during a prospering economy. The majority of venture capital firms in my network are in crisis management mode. They are communicating advice for CEOs of their portfolio companies on how to handle the downturn. This advice typically focuses on survival strategies such as holding on to cash and reducing short term liabilities. More comprehensive advice includes focusing on the core business or pivoting to a service or product that that is in demand during a crisis. Experienced partners at VC firms remember previous the mortgage credit-triggered crisis in 2008 and the dot-com bubble. However, the extent of this downturn is considered unprecedented across the board. …

Scroll down to “The advice”, if you don’t have 15 min for the whole story.

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The background

At Alba Power, we believe sustainable energy can be the economic choice. Our conversational AI for electric utilities increases participation in peak load reduction, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and EV programs.

Alba Power’s selected achievements: Electric utility partners, offers from leading investor-owned utilities, requests for proposals from electric utilities, a team comprised of multi-time founders including successful exits and senior executives with decades in energy and IT, nomination for a company award by the Colorado Cleantech Industries Association, participation in the Cleantech Open cohort 2019 and the Innosphere AI program. …


Katharina Loden

Passionate about solutions that make climate-related sustainability the economic choice. Founder, investor, advisor.

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