NovoHydrogenArtboard 1

Getting to know NovoHydrogen’s Senior Director of Sales & Marketing, Lexi Zimmerman

Lexi Zimmerman with a quote from the text.

We recently caught up with Lexi to learn about how she and the team identify customers that would benefit from hydrogen and and how she stays up to date with the latest industry trends.

Can you share a bit about your journey to becoming the Senior Director of Origination, Sales & Marketing at NovoHydrogen?

After graduating from the University of Michigan with a degree in Environmental Studies focused on sustainability and architecture, I joined a startup focused on sustainability database management and voluntary reporting. We offered modules in carbon reporting, supply chain auditing, and energy management. That startup was acquired by UL (Underwriters Laboratories), a large certification testing and inspection firm. My role shifted to focus on innovation and business development, specifically identifying where there were gaps in the market in terms of sustainability solutions and developing and deploying products to meet those needs.

As part of that work, I was introduced to hydrogen as a decarbonization solution, which I learned was an underutilized and proven technology. I was eager to join NovoHydrogen and focus on getting steel in the ground for these important projects.

What is your favorite part of the role? 

My favorite part of my role is talking to customers and specifically conducting site visits. We work across the industry, power, and transport sectors. One week, the client focus may be on chemical manufacturing. Another week might be an onsite steel manufacturing visit. It’s really exciting to see the different opportunities and challenges across different customer use cases.

NovoHydrogen is a long-term decarbonization partner, and it takes a fair amount of upfront customer conversations to dive into the complexity and nuance of whether green hydrogen is right for an individual company. We keep an eye on what’s happening in the policy landscape and market now and where it will be five or 10 years from now. All of this informs the development planning process for the customer.

What makes NovoHydrogen’s solution best-in-class?

What sets NovoHydrogen apart is our customer focus and upfront due diligence work. We always say that hydrogen can be used in many ways, but where it should be used requires a lot of discussion and data. Sometimes, that data is there, and sometimes, it isn’t. Sometimes, we’ll collaboratively develop a phase-zero strategy plan with customers to figure out what’s needed to review whether hydrogen would be a good fit.

We are owner-operators for our facilities for the contract term. The energy transition is happening now and our long-term HPA contracts and technology stack can support increasing demands over the next 10 or 20 years. We’re fully committed every step of the way.

How do you know if green hydrogen is the right solution for a customer or not?

Our discovery sessions are focused on understanding how, when, and where customers will be using green hydrogen. Typically, we run 10 to 20 pricing scenarios with various inputs to evaluate the optimal renewable resource, storage capacities, electrolyzer sizing, and delivery, among other factors. By the end of that process, we are confident that the pricing we’re providing is the cheapest, cleanest, most resilient supply of green hydrogen possible on the market for that specific use case and geography.

What’s a misconception of green hydrogen you’re trying to correct?

We hear often about the abstracted levelized cost (LCOE) of green hydrogen. This may be useful as a thought exercise but it is the wrong thing to anchor on for real-world applications. Theoretical models that derive one specific price point for the US, or worse globally, don’t take into account the nuances of an individual site or customer such as renewable resource quality, intermittency, or customer flexibility.

What book has most influenced your thinking about the energy transition?

Most recently, I like the John Doerr book Speed & Scale. It sits on my desk as a general reference. He relies heavily on data and presents a tactical action plan for decarbonization, which I really appreciate.

The book talks about ramping up emissions-free energy globally, and the role of hydrogen. Globally, we’re looking at 60 gigatons of total global CO2 equivalent emissions. About 20% (12 gigatons) comes from Industry and manufacturing. 14% ( 8 gigatons,) is from transport, and finally  41%(24 gigatons) is, from energy and the power sector. These are the main areas—industry, power, transport—that NovoHydrogen is targeting with green hydrogen to help decarbonize. That means that hydrogen will likely end up playing some role in transitioning 75% (44 gigatons) of that total global emissions.[1]  That’s massive, impactful, and motivating!

How do you stay up to date with the latest trends?

This sector is rapidly changing, so it’s important to have a decarbonization partner that’s fully focused on hydrogen. For instance, there’s been a push for industry collaboration and equipment manufacturers to understand things like natural gas blend rates I strongly value primary data sources. For example, I recently attended the American Chemistry Council Responsible Sourcing and Sustainability Conference and heard first-hand about pain points with existing hydrogen suppliers. I also like podcasts because they can keep up with how quickly the landscape for hydrogen is changing.

Lastly, what are some of your interests or hobbies outside of work?

I love living in Colorado and all of the mountain hobbies it enables. One of my favorite activities is rock climbing. We actually have several Novo team members that rock climb and hosted an open climb night at one of Novo’s monthly onsite meetings. There is also a great volleyball scene in Denver which is always a blast.

[1] Doerr, J. (2021). Speed & scale: An action plan for solving our climate crisis now. Penguin Publishing Group. (pp. 6, 22, 121)