It’s been over 20 years since the “Magazin für Wasserstoff und Brennstoffzellen” started covering the hydrogen and fuel cell sector. H2Tec, as it was called at the time, was launched by Hanover-based SunMedia Verlags GmbH at the turn of this century. In 2005, the company decided to cease publication and transfer the rights to the trade magazine to Hydrogeit Verlag, then and now Germany’s premier source for books about hydrogen and fuel cells.
The new Fuel Cell Industry Review 2019 withmarket data and analyses was published in January 2020. Since 2014, E4tech’s team has been contacting fuel cell companies worldwide to build it, aggregating their supply figures and creating an independent annual reference point on the current state of the fuel cell industry. Some excerpts are presented below.
Freudenberg Sealing Technologies (FST) is regarded as one of the pioneers of fuel cell technology, at least in Germany. The globally active seal manufacturer is one of those automotive suppliers who see the far-reaching changes in the mobility sector as an opportunity. With the purchase of battery manufacturer XALT Energy and parts of FC supplier Elcore in 2018, the basis was laid. Claus Möhlenkamp, Chairman of the Management Board, explained to H2-international that this combination brings not only technological but also cost-specific advantages.
While hydrogen in the maritime sector has only ever been treated as an option for the future under “far away” for years, not only the events at which this energy source is the subject of lively debate are currently on the increase, but also the reports on concrete projects. More and more shipping companies are turning to hydrogen because the pressure to say goodbye to fossil solutions is growing from all sides.
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.