Fuel cell-truck startup Hyzon Motors agreed to a merger with a blank-check company led by a Seattle investor in a deal that values the two combined at more than $2 billion.

The Hyzon tie-up with Decarbonization Plus Acquisition will generate about $626 million of gross proceeds, including $400 million from participants in a private investment in public equity including BlackRock, Fidelity Management & Research and Wellington Management, according to a statement. It’s expected to close in the second quarter of this year.

“Our differentiators are the legacy technology we already have, and leveraging it for this application,” Hyzon CEO Craig Knight, who will lead the combined company, said in an interview. “Over the next two years we will demonstrate vehicle operations that can better diesel.”

Bloomberg News previously reported that Hyzon was in talks to merge with Decarbonization Plus, a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, whose CEO is Erik Anderson, the founder and chief of Seattle-based investment firm WestRiver Group. Decarbonization Plus raised about $226 million in an initial public offering in October. It is backed by private equity firm Riverstone Holdings.

Decarbonization Plus shares rose as much as 7% before the start of regular trading Tuesday after surging 29% the prior two sessions; shares closed at $16.04, down 10%.

“It was very clear to us from the very first conversation this was a company that has differentiated technology and extremely advanced commercial relationships,” Decarbonization Plus Chairman Robert Tichio, who is also a partner at Riverstone, said in an interview.


Nikola interest

Hyzon, a maker of hydrogen-powered big rigs, buses and coaches, is the latest in a string of clean-energy vehicle startups to pursue SPAC mergers. Investor interest has intensified since U.S. startup Nikola went public in June in a deal with blank-check company VectoIQ Acquisition.

Despite having no meaningful revenue, Nikola’s market value surged as high as $28.8 billion before sliding back to its current valuation of about $9 billion.

Hyzon was spun out of Singapore-based Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies, which has been developing fuel cell technology for commercial applications for almost 20 years. The startup, whose investors include Total SE, is headquartered at a former General Motors facility near Rochester in Honeoye Falls, New York.

Hyzon’s partners

In July, Hyzon announced plans for a plant in the Netherlands as part of a joint venture with Holthausen Clean Technology. It also has unspecified manufacturing activities with an undisclosed partner in Shanghai and operations elsewhere in Asia and in Australia.

In August, Hyzon reached a deal with Australian mining company Fortescue Metals Group to build a fleet of hydrogen fuel cell buses.

Hyzon already has more than 400 commercial vehicles on the road using its fuel cell technology, according to the company. It expects to deliver about 5,000 fuel cell-powered trucks and buses by 2023 and is targeting annual capacity of around 40,000 fuel cell-electric vehicles by 2025.

The Seattle Times business staff contributed to this report.