Electrolyser manufacturer Plug Power has commissioned its 40MW liquid green hydrogen plant in the US state of Georgia, which it claims is the largest liquid renewable H2 plant in the country, as its management team outlined plans to shore up the troubled company's finances.

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Last year Plug's finances were catastrophically undermined by both a hydrogen supply squeeze and a series of forced and planned outages across its fuel network — a situation that led to the company warning it may not have the cash reserves to continue operating for a full 12 months.

However in a business update today (Tuesday) CEO Andy Marsh and chief financial officer Paul Middleton announced that Plug has finalised term sheet negotiations for a $1.6bn loan from the Department of Energy (DOE) — an application that is currently being reviewed by the department’s credit review board — which would be enough to fund six further green hydrogen plants.

The loan would “catalyse” Plug’s on-going projects, said Marsh, allowing it to expand its production expansion to 200 tonnes of hydrogen per day.

However, Middleton admitted that a decision from the DOE is unlikely before the company files its Q4 2023 results in the coming weeks.

As a result, Plug will be slowing capex spend in 2024, including slowing the development of its two green H2 plants in New York and Texas until it can be sure of DOE cash.

In a similar vein, the company will be implementing a recruitment freeze, cutting down the amount it spends on inventory (items it needs for on-going operation) and ending its policy of subsidising green hydrogen to bring customers to its H2 refuelling network.

The company's share price shifted upward slightly to $3.34 at the news, but it still has some way to go to recoup the value it has lost since February last year, when Plug Power's stock was worth $17.89. At its peak in January 2021 it commanded $66.87 per share.

Woodbine

Although relatively small in terms of the hundred-MW and GW-scale projects under development globally, the plant in Woodbine, Georgia is also currently the biggest green H2 installation in Europe or North America to solely use proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysers, Marsh said.

The plant, which includes a liquefaction facility to produce cryogenic hydrogen for Plug’s network of H2 fuelling stations, will produce around 15 tonnes of liquid H2 per day, or 5,475 tonnes per year at full utilisation.

This is enough to power 15,000 forklift trucks per day, Plug said.