Have you ever driven a fuel cell car? And have you ever filled up the tank of one at a hydrogen station? If so, you probably have made the same experience as I have: No fuel without a fuel card by the Clean Energy Partnership. Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to test-drive a Toyota Mirai (see next H2-international issue) – and try out refueling too. Driving the car was a great experience; the technology has matured enough. But the question I ultimately had was how the issue of hydrogen refueling would be solved in the foreseeable future.
Heating system manufacturer Vaillant has – again – put its fuel cell business on hold. Management announced on March 14, 2017, during the ISH in Frankfurt, Germany, that it had “reduced development capacities in fuel cells [and] put the market introduction of the fuel cell heating system for single-family buildings on hold for the time being.” Instead, Carsten Voigtländer, CEO of the Vaillant Group, intends to put a greater focus on renewable energy and heat pumps. In his view, “there currently is no fuel cell heating system that would be economically feasible for owners of real estate.”
On March 1, 2017, China Today reported in detail about the Asian country’s joint efforts together with Canada in environmental protection and clean energies. Canadian-based Ballard Power Systems was mentioned as a model example and positive force behind many fuel cell and mass transportation projects and agreements in China (bus, rails). What Ballard and the fuel cell companies discussed in the following articles have in common is that they will be in the black in two to three years’ time and that the fuel cell markets are at a turning point for the better. The five businesses and their shares should be viewed based on their very promising long-term outlook and not based on their admittedly disappointing short-term results.
Canadian-based Hydrogenics (NASDAQ: HYGS) reported revenue of USD 8.7 million for the fourth quarter of last year and a net loss of USD 0.20 per share. This means revenue in all of 2016 was at USD 29 million, at a net loss of USD 9.9 million. Conversely, the number of order bookings has skyrocketed and backlog totaled USD 106.6 million, of which around USD 38 million are said to be recognized as revenue in the current fiscal year
During the industry conference Energy – Think Outside the Box in Berlin, William M. Colton, vice president corporate strategic planning at ExxonMobil, talked about the big potential of a technology called “carbon capture.” By that, he meant the option to add CO2 to hydrogen to create methane and convert the result into power and heat inside a fuel cell. ExxonMobil’s partner for generating energy from emissions is FuelCell Energy (NASDAQ: FCEL). Days later, U.S. President Donald Trump said in a speech that he intended to “end the war on coal” and that the United States was going to have “clean coal.”
The minus USD 0.11 per share was a much higher loss than the USD 0.06 that had been anticipated. The adjusted EPS is said to be at USD 0.08 per share. The company’s revenue increased to USD 32.6 million in the final quarter of 2016 – while USD 34.8 million had been expected. The net loss attributable to common shareholders (incl. large extraordinary items) added up to USD 57.6 million at USD 85.9 million in revenue. This fiscal year, GAAP revenue is expected to grow to USD 130 million. Where does the company go from here? The focus of Plug Power (NASDAQ: PLUG) is the materials handling market, and it’s doing well on it regarding customers and bookings.
Just recently, the stock price of Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) had known no bounds: Prices went up more than 40 percent within a few weeks. But the hike was followed by a hefty decline from USD 286 to around USD 240. There had been no reassuring news and figures based on which you could make a logical argument for the price explosion. One of my theories focuses less on the influence of tweets and the content of statements made by Tesla’s CEO
Heliocentris Energy Solutions, which filed for bankruptcy in late 2016, will be no more, although its expertise will live on. The manufacturing and the education division were sold to different companies, but many employees who worked in Berlin lost their job.
For many years, heating systems based on fuel cells had played a central role on the joint booth Hydrogen + Fuel Cells + Batteries at Hannover Messe. This time, however, the Fuel Cell Initiative, IBZ, was nowhere to be found, not because there was no interest in the technology, but because it has been made available on the market.
At the beginning of 2017, several businesses joined forces to advance the energy transformation and spread the vision of a hydrogen economy. On Jan. 18, 2017, during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the heads of thirteen globally operating businesses held a press conference to announce the launch of the Hydrogen Council. The council’s secretary general is Pierre-Etienne Franc, vice president of advanced business and technologies at Air Liquide and formerly board chair of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, and its chair is Benoît Potier, Chief Executive Officer of Air Liquide.