Infrastructure

10 Stocks Riding the Soaring Demand for Hydrogen Fuel

It’s not yet been two months since Nikola Corp. (NYSE: NKLA) came public at $34 a share and soared to $94 in just four trading days. The stock closed at $36.57 on Wednesday and has dipped even further on Thursday.

The company manufactures Class 8 trucks (semis) that use either a hybrid electric-hydrogen or a solely hydrogen power train. Hydrogen-powered trucks and other vehicles may be interesting, but they remain just a glint in the eye of their makers and supporters.

That’s due in part to the cost of making the hydrogen that these vehicles use for fuel. Some of the cost is due to the small number of end uses for hydrogen fuel. Another is the cost of the fuel needed to electrolyze hydrogen from water instead of natural gas.

A new research note from Morgan Stanley sees a sharp drop in current hydrogen production costs driven by increasing amounts of offshore wind generation. The analysts note the current cost of renewable electricity to generate hydrogen is 3.4 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). An extension of production tax credits for wind energy projects could drive that down to just 0.6 cents per kWh by 2023 to 2024. The drop depends on continuing the production tax credit for wind energy projects and on improved electrolyzers.

Here’s a quick look at 10 companies that Morgan Stanley thinks will benefit from developing new hydrogen capacity or from developing the cheaper renewable energy that will drive the push toward hydrogen fuel.

New Fortress Energy LLC (NASDAQ: NFE) is an integrated gas-to-power energy infrastructure company that has announced a capital-light plan to transition to green hydrogen production. New Fortress is a top pick at Morgan Stanley, with an Overweight rating and a price target of $25.

New Fortress shares closed at $20.07 on Thursday, in a 52-week range of $7.01 to $20.25. The consensus 12-month price target on the stock is $21. 80, and it trades at a multiple of 13.7, based on expected 2021 earnings per share of $1.59.

Bloom Energy Inc. (NYSE: BE), a manufacturer of solid-oxide fuel cells, recently announced that it plans to build hydrogen-supplied fuel cells and an electrolyzer to produce green hydrogen. Morgan Stanley has an Overweight rating on the stock and a $21 price target.

Bloom Energy stock closed at $17.57 on Thursday, in a 52-week range of $2.44 to $19.67. The price target $13.14. The consensus 2021 earnings estimate calls for a loss of $0.13 per share, an improvement of around 85% over the expected loss for 2020.

Plug Power Inc. (NASDAQ: PLUG) recently acquired both a merchant producer of hydrogen and a hydrogen generator maker. Morgan Stanley rated the stock at Equal Weight with a price target of $6 a share before those acquisitions.

Plug Power stock closed at $8.53 on Thursday, in a 52-week range of $1.88 to $10.49. The price target is $9.87, and the consensus estimate for 2021 calls for a loss of $0.24 per share.

Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI) has a long history as a maker of diesel engines and recently has made several investments in green energy. Cummins has said it expects to lose around $500 million on its New Power business over the next three years. Morgan Stanley rates the stock at Equal Weight and raised its price target from $125 to $152 in late April.

Cummins stock closed Thursday at $189.94, in a 52-week range of $101.03 to $192.31. The high was posted Thursday and the consensus price target is $175.06. At the high 12-month price target of $205, Cummins stock trades at 19.25 times expected 2021 earnings. The company also pays a dividend yield of 2.82% ($5.84 annualized).