On Sept. 18, 2018, shortly after the hydrogen fueling station in Potsdam was started up (see Potsdam Meets 50-Station Target), the 51st one in Germany, and first in Saxony state, went into operation in Dresden. It is located on Wiener Strasse, at a Total gas station in an easily accessible spot in the midst of the city’s historic core. Its construction was partly funded by EU project Connecting Hydrogen Refueling Stations, or COHRS for short. The state’s second site came online on the very same day. It is also part of a Total gas station, or, more specifically, a truck stop named Poststrasse, near the A14 autobahn.
JA-Gastechnology, based in the German state of Lower Saxony, is planning to open a hydrogen testing lab this spring. The company’s founder, Jens Asmuth, decided it was time to branch out beyond the core business of calibrating emissions testing equipment and focus more on alternative fuel engines. Construction started last summer. It was said that the facility would house a pressure and an environmental test chamber to determine the mechanical strength, exhaust gas behavior and lifetime of tanks and analyze valves and sensors.
Never before had a commercial vehicle show featured as many electric models as the 2018 edition of the IAA Commercial Vehicles, which took place from Sept. 20 to 27 in Hanover, Germany. Most exhibitors that had a booth at the event displayed battery-electric or, at the very least, hybrid trucks or buses. Vehicles powered by hydrogen or fuel cells were few and far between, though compared to past shows, their number had jumped up quite a bit. And, as a sign of how much promise they hold, large market players used the time to make some major announcements.
Few expected something to be different after the change at the top of the German transportation ministry. The replacement of Alexander Dobrindt by Andreas Scheuer didn’t usher in a new era at the department. It is true that Scheuer is four years younger than his predecessor. But both belong to the same political party, and Scheuer’s time as head of the ministry has likewise been little more than an exercise in cozying up to the auto industry. Chances for a real turnaround in the transportation sector are getting slimmer by the day.
In 18 years of managing the f-cell show, its organizers have seen many trends, and businesses, come and go. Some companies that used to exhibit at the event no longer exist. Some of the speakers at past events have worked for multiple employers in the meantime. And before last year’s decision to move back to Stuttgart’s Haus der Wirtschaft, the show itself took place on the city’s showgrounds.
Ballard (Nasdaq: BLDP) had its very own October surprise, which caused the stock to take a nosedive. Though worse than expected, the USD 0.03 net loss per share and revenues of as little as USD 21.6 million weren’t to blame for the slump. Neither was the company’s low cash level of USD 23.2 million, reduced by inventory and AFCC asset purchases, nor the 2018 revenue target
Power purchase agreements are a central part of FuelCell Energy’s new corporate strategy. These agreements allow for long-term community purchases of electricity and energy. Not too long ago, the company concluded several contracts to that effect. One example is a 14.8-megawatt site in Derby, Connecticut. Meanwhile, it has been adding fuel cell power plants to its inventory as well, as it did last November
Hydrogenics (Nasdaq: HYGS) seems to be facing similar headwinds in China, mostly with regard to funding, bid requests and grant approval. It said the country offered excellent prospects; everything was just moving along a bit more slowly than expected. At the very least, backlog at Hydrogenics added up to USD 132 million, more than half of which originates with Alstom contracts for fuel cell trains. Thirty trains have already been ordered and more are said to follow this year.
Considering the many possible uses of fuel cells, the market for them won’t go up in a straight line. Nor will the large-scale production of cheap renewable hydrogen be a goal that can be accomplished overnight. Still, new hydrogen fueling stations will be added at a steady pace, and it will only be a matter of time until mass-produced fuel cell cars are available for sale.
The sky’s the limit, you might have been thinking, when Tesla’s stock jumped from USD 240 to about USD 340 in few days. On Oct. 23, 2018, a short while before the company said that it would preschedule the publication of third-quarter results, a well-known short seller named Andrew Left, of Citron Research, changed his outlook on Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA). In what seemed like a 180-degree turn from his previous position, he stated