Accessing hydrogen fuelcell’s legal environment and nature of the technology, the appropriabilityregime is weak.
First, since the technology is relatively immature, propertyrights environment is relatively weak in order to increase popularity in thisfield. From Francois Issac de Rivaz’s invention of the first 4-wheel prototypethat was powered by hydrogen and oxygen gas to today’s Toyota Mirai, hydrogenstill hasn’t taken off in the automotive sector (Automostory, 2014).1 Majority manufacturersstill experiment with the technology and very few start to produce hydrogenvehicles. The challenges nowadays are increasing competition from electricvehicles, lack of refueling infrastructure, high cost of catalyst used inhydrogen fuel cells. Therefore, hydrogen fuel cell require future study andinnovation, and thus, Toyota released 5,680 patents of its hydrogen fuel celltechnologies patents, representing millions of dollars of research investment ona royalty-free basis in 2015 (Forbes, 2015). 2 This move was planned toincentivize innovative fuel cell technologies and expand “hydrogen-basedsociety” around the world. A “loosen” legal environment will create openresources and encourage companies to advance hydrogen fuel cell technology tomeet the challenges it currently faces and uncover demands in target marketsegments.
However, it also implies a lower barrier to entry for new firms tocompete in this segment.On the other hand, thenature of HydroHome is its innovation of the business model. Their serviceaddresses the key issues of refueling infrastructure and hydrogen storage.
Imagineif you are driving a vehicle and there is limited number of gas stations tofill your vehicle. HydroHome thus creates a platform to fill up hydrogen at anyplace. Their business model is simple: get hydrogen supply from ITM PowerEnergy, transport hydrogen capsules to HydroHome storage by HydrogeniousTechnologies, and lastly, arrive and fill up customers’ HydroHome installationstations (PPT).HydroHome’s business model is relatively easy to imitate—their technique isconsidered codified knowledge, which is easy to transmit and articulate. Themost challenging parts in the model are carried out by other expertise:hydrogen supply by ITM Power Energy and storage and transport by HydrogeniousTechnologies.
As a result, HydroHome’s business model can be easily replicatedby other firms.I. Life Cycle PhaseHydrogen fuel cell technologyis at the preparadigmatic stage, which means there is no single generallyaccepted standard or dominant design. The market for hydrogen FCV is relativelyyoung. Based on HyARC 2017 survey, majority of the 4,200 fuel EVs registered atthe start of 2017 are located in Japan or USA.
Over 90% of these vehicles arepassenger cars, following by fuel cell electric buses (Shell, 2017).3 Considering HydroHome ismainly associated with hydrogen refueling, we will examine current condition ofthe refueling stations. There are only 280 active hydrogen refueling stationsaround the world. Japan has the largest number of the stations II