FuelCell Energy recently announced that, since launching business, it had produced over 10 million megawatts of clean electricity, saving over 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide. Its basis for success is the SureSource platform. The company is now gradually fulfilling orders worth more than USD 1.3 billion. New bookings season the pot, as they are expected to lead to high margins.
How quickly things can change. Just a few months ago, FuelCell Energy [Nasdaq: FCEL] risked bankruptcy due to questionable financial practices. With the help of a highly committed and successful consulting firm, the business then righted the ship. At one point, its price soared from around USD 0.13 to an intraday high of over USD 4.00 as it saw its market cap jump from USD 40 million to USD 500 million. The latest stock crash then put an end to it all and the stock took a nosedive, finishing below USD 1.00. It will certainly take some time before the price averages out to reflect business growth.
What a farce it was that shortsellers took advantage of toxic financing (i.e. preference shares convertible into ordinary shares) to depress FuelCell Energy’s share price and at the same time get more and more of the company’s shares onto the market – at least, this is what I think happened not too long ago. In addition, some project financing was subject to conditions that could be considered questionable (e.g. minimum return, guarantees). In addition, bank loans were used as leverage against the company, as reference was made to safety margins and termination clauses, while FuelCell did not approach restricted cash. A vicious circle.
FuelCell had to feel what it means to fall for smart investors (loan sharks?). The preference shares that could be converted into ordinary shares were probably used to push down the price via short selling and to receive more and more shares due to a conversion ratio. Did the analysts who evaluate and recommend FuelCell Energy simply overlook this? Now the capital has been merged. The number of artificially inflated shares via conversion of preference shares has now been significantly reduced. Unfortunately, all this seems to leave the management cold, otherwise they would at least make a press release.
More and more news reports, talk shows and interviews with leading politicians in Germany are making explicit mention of fuel cells – sadly, most of the time only in reference to the diesel scandal among the country’s automakers. Still, it’s a clear sign that people are becoming aware of the technology’s potential. Pierre-Etienne Franc, secretary general of the Hydrogen Council, has said recently: “The years 2020 to 2030 will be for hydrogen what the 1990s were for solar and wind. It’s a real strategic shift.”
The final decision on which company will be awarded the contract for the 63 MW Beacon Falls project should have already been made by the end of July 2016, but has since been moved to Sept. 5 and then to Oct. 26. The delays seem to be the result of additional bids that include wind and solar energy. In my opinion, the fuel cell plant offers significant benefits
In the future, high-temperature fuel cells should pave the way for new energy solutions in emerging countries. At least, this is the plan of several Indian investors who founded mPower in November 2015. Trusting in the SOFC know-how of Fraunhofer’s IKTS and the interconnects by Plansee, they want nothing less than to set out from Dresden and revolutionize the energy world.
Who would have thought that the world’s largest oil corporation and biggest US gas company is having a change of heart? In May this year, ExxonMobil concluded a research agreement with FCEL to develop the carbon capture technology into something that created a “more economical pathway.” Carbon dioxide from chemical and coal plants is said to be added together with hydrogen to produce methane, which would then be converted at high efficiency into electricity and heat. What is most important here is the technology‘s economic benefit
Large fuel cell systems in the megawatt range have so far been set up primarily in South Korea or the States. Now, Germany is said to get its first 1.4 MW plant. The new system by FuelCell Energy Solutions is currently being built in the Friedrichsfeld suburb of Mannheim (see photo). E.ON Connecting Energies has been implementing the Direct FuelCell® unit
The large increase in the number of orders placed with each one of the fuel cell businesses analyzed in this and following articles promises a very bright future for the industry. Prototypes give way to mass production. The recent stabilization of the oil price is an effective mental tool. The road to profitability is there. The shares have potential – but not everyone has realized it yet!