Englewood, Colorado

Co-founder and CEO Seth Terry sees exponential growth potential for the startup in the emerging hydrogen economy.

A self-described “full-time sustainability entrepreneur my whole career,” Terry started New Day Hydrogen with Chief Commercial Officer Patricia Kelley, COO Buford Barr, and CTO Brian DeBruine. “We’re a pandemic baby, founded around this common interest of decarbonizing energy, and the role hydrogen plays in that decarbonization.”

New Day’s business plan involves building the infrastructure for diesel-powered fleets to transition to hydrogen. Terry says the company plans on “providing onsite, carbon-free hydrogen fueling to diesel fleets as they start their journey to zero emissions.”

“That enables us to focus on centralized fleets, as opposed to having to rely upon a network effect for hydrogen fueling,” he explains. “Battery-powered electric vehicles are really not the best fit for all applications. We’re looking for complementary approaches for those hard-to-decarbonize, hard-to-reduce-emissions sectors. “

It follows that New Day is targeting diesel fleets in emergency services, utilities, port and transit authorities, and other commercial fleets. The company has signed a memorandum of understanding with AAA to potentially transition about 30 fleets in Colorado — a total of more than 1,000 vehicles — and other states to hydrogen. “We’re speaking with a number of other groups in Colorado and outside Colorado,” says Terry.

The best fits are where charging infrastructure is not feasible due to space or time constraints. “We’re all much more familiar with electricity, and therefore the allure and the vision of battery electric vehicles,” says Terry. “The benefit of hydrogen is you get zero emissions . . . but it can be replenished in a matter of minutes instead of a matter of hours. And that’s really the major driver for what makes it better in certain applications.”

It can be expensive, especially in areas with high-cost electricity, but Terry says many observers forecast the cost of the priciest input — electrolyzers — could drop by more than 80 percent over the next decade as volumes increase as he describes “a glide path to something that looks like parity” with diesel.

“We’re out storming the hill, trying to generate those early, durable customers and that strong customer base,” says Terry. “All of these fleets are going to be starting out from a very low level of hydrogen fueling adoption. As a result, we’ve put together a design that accommodates the needs of those early-adopting fleets, and then can scale with them incrementally as they age out their existing diesel fleet and move increasingly into a hydrogen-powered fleet.”

Photos courtesy New Day Hydrogen

New Day’s concept is a modularized container system that integrates electrolysis, compression, storage, and dispensing equipment to pull hydrogen from water. The company is working with an undisclosed EPC (engineering, procurement, and construction) firm to manufacture the systems. “Since we’re relying on electrolysis — which is the splitting of water onsite — our supply chain is the utility supply of water and electricity, which is pretty reliable,” says Terry.

The other option is buying hydrogen fuel from an offsite facility, but he notes, “If there’s a hiccup at a refinery, that can really affect the supply to those stations.”

Challenges: “Our biggest challenge is getting this first fueling station on the ground and developing that ecosystem around it,” says Terry. “The overarching challenge is we’re building a market.”

Opportunities: “The opportunity is massive,” says Terry, citing projections for a $50 billion U.S. hydrogen fuel market by 2030. “We believe there are hundreds of fleets that fit this profile.”

The State of Colorado’s greenhouse gas reduction plan calls for 950,000 zero-emissions vehicles on the state’s roads by 2030, but there are only about 50,000 in operation as of 2022.

“It’s this opportunity for us to participate in a growing sector we all know is going to take off, because of the dire need for zero emissions,” says Terry.

Needs: Capital. “We’re absolutely out looking for investors, we’re out pursuing grant opportunities,” says Terry.


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