Lately, potential customers from all over the world are complaining about the severe shortage of fuel cell buses. However, automakers have only themselves to blame. The few clean buses that have made it onto the market are either hybrid or all-electric. It is a rare specimen that runs on fuel cells.
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.
Canadian producer Hydrogenics (Nasdqaq: HYGS) and British manufacturer ITM Power (London: ITM) aren’t entirely comparable, but they use similar technologies. There are some commonalities in the form of power-to-gas projects, hydrogen stations and powerful electrolyzers to generate the gas. Their market caps aren’t as far apart as I would expect based on the number and contract value of bookings. Both stocks have experienced severe price drops.
It took Pragma Industries, a French manufacturer of fuel cell bikes, fewer than 3 weeks to reach the EUR 300,000 goal of its early November crowdfunding campaign. The amount, which has meanwhile grown to over half a million euros, is planned to help with the construction of the first lpha bikes in Biarritz. The lpha 2.0, the company’s second generation of hydrogen-powered pedal cycles, comes with a 250-watt electric motor
The dust has settled on a rally to the top and a share price that nearly tripled temporarily. Stock market experts like to call it chart consolidation and profit taking. ITM (London: ITM) was successful in raising EUR 120 million in fresh capital. Now, the British manufacturer’s market capitalization is above long-term expectations despite its bright outlook. I think investors should put this one on the watchlist, but look for other, more promising options in the meantime.
H2-international has recently asked manufacturers of fuel cell stacks not only about their systems’ technical specifications, but also about their opinion of current market developments. As only seven companies participated in the survey, the results may not be very indicative of where the entire market is heading. However, you can discern a few trends.
One good piece of fuel cell news after another: Businesses on the stock exchange, such as the ones discussed in these news articles, have announced a series of large orders, new strategic partnerships, technological advances and new investors (also strategic ones), and some (quarterly) results or forecasts promise interesting times ahead on the way to a hydrogen society. Share prices are gradually starting to reflect the positive development
Heating system manufacturer Vaillant has – again – put its fuel cell business on hold. Management announced on March 14, 2017, during the ISH in Frankfurt, Germany, that it had “reduced development capacities in fuel cells [and] put the market introduction of the fuel cell heating system for single-family buildings on hold for the time being.” Instead, Carsten Voigtländer, CEO of the Vaillant Group, intends to put a greater focus on renewable energy and heat pumps. In his view, “there currently is no fuel cell heating system that would be economically feasible for owners of real estate.”
“Everything has progressed at a much faster pace than I expected,” Guido Gummert, formerly CEO of SOLIDpower, had told the Aachener Nachrichten in early 2017. What he meant was the rapid turnaround at Ceramic Fuel Cells after it filed for bankruptcy in March 2015. After SOLIDpower took over Ceramic Fuel Cells, business recovered fast, but now Gummert left the Italian-based manufacturer of stationary fuel cells at the end of February 2017 at his own request.
Anyone who already owns a fuel cell vehicle and needs to have it repaired now has someone to turn to: Car dealership Karl Russ has opened its own hydrogen garage in Germany. The Mercedes dealership in Nürtingen invested more than EUR 70,000 in equipment and monitoring technology to be able to make all necessary repairs on fuel cell vehicles while complying with German safety standards. The garage had already been inaugurated at the end of 2015. Managing partner Stefan Russ told the Nürtinger Zeitung: “Thanks to our customers, we can already service F-Cell vehicles according the manufacturer’s instructions. Our new repair shop has us well prepared for future car generations.”