Following a short-term dip, the stock of Canadian fuel cell manufacturer Ballard Power (Nasdaq: BLDP) went on to rebound in a big way, shooting up daily. A good sign. While the company didn’t ink any major deals, it signed several framework agreements and received multiple letters of intent. It also tried to branch out, getting in on projects such as H2Ports. As a global leader, Ballard will remain in the spotlight, in multiple markets, thanks to its highly advanced technology.
For me, the new year started off with a bang: While hydrogen and fuel cells had rarely been discussed at the many energy conferences held in past years, power-to-gas, electrolyzers and fuel cells are quickly seizing the spotlight these days. It’s very good news for technology suppliers listed on the stock exchange, especially for those mentioned below. The market has finally built enough momentum, and the public is taking note. Also, Tesla’s position as the leader of the field took a bit of a hit in 2018: Competition grew fiercer, with more and more businesses offering electric or hybrid models.
The bloodletting among the executive ranks at Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) continues. The carmaker’s general counsel stepped down only two months after taking the position and its chief financial officer, who had already been in this role once before, years ago, resigned as well, this time after two years. This doesn’t bode well. Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, at least managed to bring his billionaire friend and Oracle founder Larry Ellison on board. Ellison has bought Tesla shares worth over USD 1 billion, making him the automaker’s second-largest private shareholder, after Musk.
On February 22, Plug Power (Nasdaq: PLUG) celebrated the Grand Opening of a new factory in Rochester in the United States. Reportedly, the site will create more than 180 jobs and produce as many as 400,000 membrane electrode assemblies, compared to a company-wide production of 10,000 in 2018. The big increase in capacity is thought to be achieved by using a technology that the manufacturer obtained by buying American Fuel Cell. Additionally, tests of courier vans have created high expectations.
After a sharp decline, with high volumes being traded at prices as low as USD 0.40, the tide suddenly turned for FuelCell Energy (Nasdaq: FCEL). While trade volume increased even more, to 17.5 million shares, the price shot to USD 0.90 within a few days. Then, the tide turned again, and the shares fell to a new low. It’s almost as if the stock is part of a high-stakes gambling game. Who is in the know?
Bloom Energy (Nasdaq: BE), a manufacturer of fuel cell systems, is a new one for me to discuss on these pages. The company went public in July 2018, and after issuing shares at a price of USD 25 each, it went on to reach a market cap of above USD 3 billion, though it is valued at less than half of its IPO price today. It posted revenues of USD 742 million for 2018 and expects a steady 20 percent growth per year in the near-term future.
The steadily growing interest in hydrogen and fuel cells will be on full display at this year’s Hannover Messe, to be held April 1 through April 5 at Hanover’s convention and expo center. This time, the event will shine an even bigger spotlight on integrated energy systems. Its organizers expect over 1,000 exhibitors to unveil new ideas, such as their plans for integrating heat with electricity in industrial settings and storing wind and solar energy as hydrogen and methane or using it to create liquid fuels.
During his time as chairman of the German NPE’s steering committee (National Platform for Electric Mobility), Henning Kagermann seemed, for the most part, to be little enamored with hydrogen and fuel cell technology. Now, in his role as head of National Platform for the Future of Transportation (NPM), things might have changed, so H2-international asked him again about his opinion:
Early into the Fuel Cell Innovation Forum, organized by the BDH and Zukunft Erdgas, both spokesmen for the Fuel Cell Initiative, or IBZ for short, were visibly tense, seemingly worried that the government might drop its support for residential fuel cells. But after Thomas Bareiß, who works at the German economy ministry, told those gathered on Oct. 10, 2018, in Berlin the heaters had been short-listed for incentives in 2019, you could hear them breathe a sigh a relief.