It is always difficult being ahead of the curve in the technology field. Blazing a trail of new ideas and techniques can often appear “crazy” to many. As Apple led its charge many had no idea where it would go but the results are far too obvious today. New cleaner sources of energy are perhaps within that same class today. It is a risk in this sense, but one that takes a chance investing in a company of this type could well benefit down the road.
Fuelcell Energy Inc., a stationary energy provider of electrochemical power, provides electricity to a variety of commercial and utility based concerns through carbonate fuel cell and planar solid oxide fuel cell technology. The company currently operates its services in the United States, Canada, Germany, Japan and South Korea and was founded in 1969.
Generally generated from biofuels or natural gas, the company offers a growing opportunity for less emissions during the electricity generating process. Customers include government buildings, food processors, hotels, waste water treatment facilities and prisons. Overall, the process is less known than the more typical coal fired power plant but is quickly becoming a recognized source of power for utilities and organizations interested in carbon credits and reduction in emissions. In this realm, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has ordered two fuel cell generating systems for San Francisco area colleges. Overall, the systems are mainly ordered for their power generating capacity but also for a study of fuel cell viability within California and around the US. Total value of the contract, including installation, is estimated at well over $12 million and could very well be a valuable tool in pushing the company’s technology forward as a leading power generation source.
As one may suspect, sales of these types of power generation systems are such that year-to-year sales can be somewhat varied. As sales are increased and the knowledge of such plants becomes more wide-spread, sales are likely to become more stable. During the first quarter of 2010, sales decreased from $21 million to $14 million, although the recently announced PG&E contract mitigates such a decrease slightly. At present, the company has two primary customers in South Korea and the United States Government with South Korea comprising 67% of revenues. In this respect, it does appear that these customers are committed to the technology and ready to support it for the long-term. As with all new clean energy technology, there is work and research to be completed before it becomes more wide spread in use. Fuelcell Energy, however, has been working within the field for quite some time and appears to be the world leader.