Fuel Cells/Business 031031

Fuel Cells/Business


 Fuel Cell jobs
Microsoft Excel Worksheet
The study, “Fuel Cells at the Crossroads: Attitude Regarding the Investment C limate for the U.S. Fuel Cell Industry and a Projection of Industy Job Creation Potential,” estimates the total employment in the U.S. fuel cell industryin 2002  was approximately 4,500 to 5,000 and could yield nearly 200,000 new jobs in the next 20 years.

One of the conclusions of the study reports that with post 2001 decline in risk capital investment in fuel cells and hydrogen, it is crucial for government to increase its support in partnership with industry.

The study was conducted by Breakthrough Technologies Institute and can be downloaded free of charge at the website: www.fuelcells.org.
(December,2003) U.S. battery and fuel cell materials demand are projected to read $3 billion in 2007; this is a 6.2 percent increase.  The growing popularity of high -drain devices such as digital cameras and 3G (third-generation) wireless phones will lead to an acceleration in U.S. battery production, spurring materials demand.  Fuel cell output will climb tenfold, resulting in stellar gains in associated materials consumption.  

Carbon graphite and polymers will record some of the strongest increases through 2007.   Even the market for nanomaterials with the potential to dramatically improve battery and fuel cell performance will climb at a fast pace as well.
Microsoft Excel Worksheet
Metals will continue to account for more than half of all battery and fuel cell materials consumption in 2007. Healthy sales conditions for small volume metals such as lithium, titanium and platinum will stimulate overall metals demand. Market gains for chemicals (i.e. lithium salts, manganese dioxide and solvents) account for the second largest share of total materials demand.

Electrodes will remain by far the largest functional category for materials. Strong increases will be registered in the battery market by materials used in separators, electrolytes and other functions such as catalysts and performance additives. These items are the focus of research and development activity aimed at reducing manufacturing costs and improving product performance.  

Information is from Battery & Fuel Cell Materials (published 10/2003, 245 pages) by The Freedonia Group, Inc. The cost is $3,800. Information may be obtained through www.freedoniagroup.com
 (Oct. 2003) Duracell agrees to work with MTI MicroFuel Cells to develop portable fuel cells consumers.  Gillette Co. the parent of Duracell has made an investment of up to $5 million in MicroFuel, a partially owned subsidiary of Mechanical Technology Inc.  In the agreement, MTI MicoFuel Cells will work on developing a the unit for general consumers while Duracell will work on developing the refills.   Bill Acker, chief executive of Micro Fuel, said it was too early to say how soon the device would be ready for the commercial market.
FuelCell Energy (FCEL) and Caterpillar Announce First Joint Power Plant Sale in California
FCEL’s stock rises 26 percent on Sept. 24, 2003

The 250-kilWatt Direct Fuel CellR (DFC) power plant will be used by the Los Angeles (L.A.) County Sanitation Districts.  The Districts plan to install the fuel cell unit at its Palmdale Water Reclamation Plant in northwest L.A. County. This sale marks the first joint  project of Caterpillar and FuelCell Energy in California. The California districts that bought the plant are receiving $1.1 million in incentives from the California Public Utilities Commissions.  Chris Swan, an analyst at TD Newcrest International said in favor of the new order by FuelCell Energy and Caterpillar, “They need to get more systems out there to drive costs down.”

Earlier in September, the City of Los Angels dedicated its new fuel cell power plant, implemented by FCEL,  at the Terminal Island plant in San Pedro. The plant will represent one of the first high-efficiency fuel cell plants in the nation to utilize renewable fuel.  The plant uses up to 50 percent less fuel per kiloWatt-hour than the average conventional power plant and produces much less emissions.  While the fuel cell currently operates with natural gas, the intent is to develop a gas-processing treatment unit that will clean and process the biogas so that it will be compatible with the requirements of the fuel cell.  

The Terminal Island fuel cell power plant is significantly cleaner than the average U.S. fossil fuel power plant. In fact, based on annual usage, each 250 kiloWatt fuel cell power plant displaces the following levels of pollutants:
• 1.2 million pounds of carbon dioxide
• 11,000 pounds of nitrogen oxide
•  25,000 pounds of sulfur dioxide

The DFC operates by generating electricity with no combustion.  They continuously operate as long as fuel is supplied. DFC power plants are designed to generate hydrogen internally so there is no need for an external hydrogen supplied infrastructure.  

As for FCEL’s stock, the Company reported a third quarter loss of $0.38 a share, as compared with $0.34 a share a year earlier.  However, these number surpassed the Street’s outlook which had expected a loss of $.46 a share.   

(September,03)U.S. Battery & Fuel Cell Components Demand to Reach $4.9 Billion in 2007
 (August 2003) NEC unveils  its prototype  methanol-fueled laptop.  NEC intends to introduce its computer with a fuel-cell system which can run for five consecutive hours on a single cartridge of methanol fuel.  Plans are to commercialize the product in 2004.    NEC’s future plans, in the next two years, are to develop a fuel cell with longer running time for up to 40 hours.

Toshiba has also stated it would have a fuel cell powered notebook by 2003.  Some of the other Japanese companies working in this area are Casio and Hitachi.
(July,2003) Millennium Cell and U.S. Borax Inc. release the results of a new poll conducted by Harris Interactive, Inc. which states the American public’s viewpoint on possible new fuels for vehicles. The study states that Americans are “willing to try a new hydrogen-based fuel for their vehicles.”  However,  safety was rated (by 83%) as the most important issue in accepting alternative fuels.  The second most important issue was cost (78%) although nearly half of the respondents (44%) said they would be willing to pay at least twice as much as they pay now for gasoline.
Adobe Photoshop ImageAllied Business Intelligence’s (ABI) study, “Global Stationary Fuel Cell Market - A Detailed Analysis of an Emerging Industry,” states that there is a shift from research and development to the establishment of manufacturing plants. “The heightened level of competition has been forcing companies in the field towards introducing meaningful early commercial products into niche markets,” said Atakan Ozbek of ABI. Early adopter markets such as wastewater treatment plants, telecommunications backup centers, and data centers will be the first markets that will see stationary fuel cell products deployed. ABI can see deployment from 50 Watts to 30 megaWatts in the U.S. and worldwide. The U.S., followed by Japan and Germany, will be the key markets in early deployments. (www.alliedworld.com)
(August,02) Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in Michigan has created a formal working group that will examine plans for a research and development center focused on new technologies. The “Energy Center of Excellence” will include a researchinstitute dedicated to studying alternative energy sources, a business incubator supporting energy-related ventures and an education and training center. The center would be the first commercial project to integrate fuel cell technology, heat recovery systems, microturbines, photovoltaics and Nickel-metal hydride battery storage system research.
Ballard Power reported a loss on the first quarter operating results for the quarter ending March 31, 2002. The quarter’s net loss was $50.7 million, or ($.048) per share, compared with a net loss of $1.4 million, or ($0.16) per share, during the same period in 2001. Banc of America Securities’ said the figures, lower than anticipated, were a “negative surprise” primarily caused by higher than expected depreciation and amortization expense, reflecting the impact of the recent acquisitions. “Energy Technology: Power of Growth Weekly” by Banc of America Securities, 05/06/02 (06-02BD75-7-8)
Adobe Photoshop ImageThe market for portable power supplies in the US is projected to increase 7.2 percent per year through 2005 to $10.7 billion. Among the major established products, secondary batteries hold the best prospects going forward, given their leadership position in growth markets such as high-end IT devices. Demand for primary batteries, exposed to more mature product markets and less potential for technological upgrade, will grow at a below-average pace. Portable and micro fuel cells are expected to be sold in commercially significant volumes by mid-decade. On the downside, portable power supply markets will be adversely impacted by slower economic growth than prevailed during the latter 1990s. (Data is from ‘Portable Power Supplies’ by The Freedonia Group, Inc., Tel: 440-684-9600.) +