Sustainable Business News (SBIZ)
c/o Squall Inc.
P.O. Box 1484, Stn. B
Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 5P6
Canada: 1-855-569-6300

Hydrogen Optimized appoints Denis Krude CEO to lead growth stage

Krude has been chief executive of thyssenkrupp nucera for five years; to join firm April 8

Denis Krude, the next CEO of Hydrogen Optimized. (Courtesy Hydrogen Optimized Inc.)

Hydrogen Optimized Inc. has hired Denis Krude, most recently the CEO of green hydrogen technology company thyssenkrupp nucera, as its new president and CEO to lead the firm's commercial growth phase.

Krude has been CEO of the Dortmund, Germany-headquartered thyssenkrupp nucera for over five years. He is to join Hydrogen Optimized on April 8 as its founding CEO steps aside.

“As the founding CEO, I couldn’t be more happy to have Denis become our CEO,” Andrew Stuart, president of Owen Sound-based Hydrogen Optimized, told Sustainable Biz Canada in an interview.

Hydrogen Optimized is the maker of RuggedCell, electrolyzers that produce green hydrogen fuel by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using direct current electricity. The company is targeting hard-to-abate industries for decarbonization such as steelmaking, trucking, locomotion, aviation and energy storage.

Stuart said he is “thrilled” to see Krude join Hydrogen Optimized and described him as a “dream CEO,” as the company works toward building its first commercial units.

Krude’s executive roles

Krude, a German national who has a master’s degree in electrical engineering and information technology from RWTH Aachen University, has held a series of increasingly senior positions at thyssenkrupp Group since 1998. From 2016 to 2023 he was CEO and a member of the executive board at thyssenkrupp nucera.

At thyssenkrupp nucera, he organized its initial public offering ahead of its 2023 public listing.

"I am impressed by the culture of the Hydrogen Optimized team and the tremendous progress they have made in advancing the company's RuggedCell water electrolysis technology, manufacturing capabilities and market presence,” Krude said in a release.

His experience will help Hydrogen Optimized as it aims to be a “highly functioning entity who can deliver much, much larger projects than the first initial units,” Stuart said.

With Hydrogen Optimized looking to go beyond demonstration units of RuggedCell into commercial-level manufacturing, he said Krude is taking the reins to build that aspect of the company from his initial work to develop and proof the product.

“It’s very important as a company founder to recognize where you need to move to a different role, and when, and how to support the new CEO,” Stuart said.

In his upcoming role as Hydrogen Optimized’s executive chairman, Stuart’s focus will be supporting the company, its stakeholders and Krude by developing its strategy, he said.

Hydrogen Optimized’s work to date

Since the company was last covered by Sustainable Biz Canada in September 2022, Hydrogen Optimized has gone through a series of developments including raising additional funding, securing another technology partnership and laying the groundwork for a new production facility in Texas.

In September 2023, the company received a $3.6-million repayable contribution from the Canadian government to grow and automate the manufacturing capacity of RuggedCell in Owen Sound.

The funds are earmarked for a project worth up to $12 million at its 120,000-square-foot facility where RuggedCell demonstration units are in place, Stuart explained. At full capacity, the facility may produce hundreds of megawatts or gigawatts worth of electrolyzers annually, he added.

ABB Ltd. is helping to automate production at the site, a facility which could grow as large as 300,000 square feet if Hydrogen Optimized believes an expansion is necessary, Stuart said.

Similar to the ABB partnership announced in 2022, Hydrogen Optimized signed a memorandum of understanding with Dallas-based Flowserve Corporation in April 2023. Flowserve would provide engineering support and compressors to optimize the efficiency of Hydrogen Optimized’s hydrogen production.

The potential need for an additional factory gave Hydrogen Optimized the push to open a subsidiary and office in Houston. Texas is an attractive location because it has “very significant market opportunity with green hydrogen,” Stuart said. “Being close to the market is important at being able to support our clients.”

It follows a memorandum of understanding between Hydrogen Optimized and Green Hydrogen International in April 2022 to develop an electrolyzer manufacturing facility in Texas for Green Hydrogen International’s planned Hydrogen City project. RuggedCell would be produced at scale at the facility.

Stuart said Hydrogen Optimized could ultimately require 10 factories around the world, depending on how the hydrogen market evolves.

For the hydrogen sector to truly make an impact on decarbonization, he said the industry needs clarity on rules so it can become established like the wind or solar energy markets. Stuart also recommends a program to support Canadian technology development and allow companies to scale up production.

Industry Events