The leap over the big pond has been made. Tobias Renz Fair and Deutsche Messe organized the first Hydrogen + Fuel Cells North America, which took place in Las Vegas, Nevada, Sept. 10 through 13, 2017. The hydrogen and fuel cell trade show ran alongside Solar Power International and Energy Storage International in one large hall at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. It attracted many interested visitors.
The Trump government’s move toward fossil fuels has intensified in the fourth quarter. The Energy Information Center is primarily intended for power plants that are to receive a certain electricity price in order to be able to guarantee base load protection. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is committed to revamping and eliminating the clean power plan.
Disruptive innovations – What are they and what effect could they have on the energy industry? This was the theme of the sixth Barcamp Renewables, held Oct. 26 through 27, 2017, in and around Kassel, Germany. More than 120 people participated in a lively debate around current projects to promote renewable energy use.
At the dawn of the new millennium, the shares of fuel cell companies had gone through the roof. Fuel cells were thought of as the next big breakthrough technology, and it seemed as if large, new growth markets were just waiting to be exploited. But shareholders were mistaken, celebrating too early. The industry’s leading businesses stumbled over the immense cost to develop and introduce new technologies. Likewise, a lot of them were spread too thin, trying to serve too many markets with too many products at once. Instead of concentrating research on a few promising segments, some allocated resources to several – regardless of their potential.
As the then market leader, Ballard Power (Nasdaq: BLDP) determined soon after taking up its fuel cell activities that there was no way it could compete in the transportation sector. The upfront investment that such a move required was just too great. A decision was made to outsource these activities to AFCC, a Daimler-Ford joint venture
FuelCell Energy’s shares have experienced a sharp drop for seemingly no reason. It may have been a tactic intended to push down the price, for example, to profit via short sale in anticipation of the fall and convert warrants later. That is pure speculation, of course, but people say these things have happened before. In any case, the most recent investment decisions seem to be an unmistakable sign that institutional investors believe in the company’s prospects and its technology.
Plug Power’s third-quarter results proved disappointing. The company said that the figures didn’t have any influence on its great prospects, considering a customer base which includes corporations as large as Walmart and Amazon. Their bookings are expected to top USD 600 million in the coming years. During the reporting period, Plug delivered 2,753 GenDrive systems for forklift retrofits, which generated USD 61.4 million in revenue. Current production capacity is at 15,000 systems per year, with 95 percent of them manufactured in-house. Ballard’s contribution has been reduced to a minimum.
Tesla’s third-quarter figures didn’t merely point to poor performance – the USD 671 million loss in particular was way more than anything most analysts had predicted. Based on non-GAAP accounting, including adjustments, shares lost USD 2.92 each. GAAP, which has the more relevant figures in my opinion, showed minus USD 3.70 per share at a revenue of USD 2.98 billion, which includes SolarCity’s.
The deal with Amazon – which basically acquired a stake in Plug Power (Nasdaq: PLUG) through warrants and, at the same time, placed orders to have its forklift trucks retrofitted – may be the reason why Walmart has agreed to a change in the terms for its large Plug booking, which will improve the situation for the latter. Walmart was the first big Plug customer to request forklift conversions and an H2 refueling infrastructure at its logistics centers.
A second-quarter loss of USD 1.2 million or USD 0.01 per share is one thing, but a more than 50 percent year-on-year jump in revenue to USD 26.1 million is quite another. Canadian-based Ballard (Nasdaq: BLDP) managed to push the gross margin to 38 percent, so that earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were at positive USD 1.1 million. That’s plus USD 0.4 million through the first half year. Revenue grew by 45 percent to USD 49.2 million during the same period.