How Much Will the EPA's Carbon Rules Boost FuelCell Energy?

With the announcement that the EPA will regulate carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, investors in fuel cell manufacturers FuelCell Energy (NASDAQ: FCEL  ) and Ballard Power Systems (NASDAQ: BLDP  ) might be jumping for joy. After all, the massive retirement of coal plants over the next several years will mean that there is lots of room for fuel cells to take market share, and it will basically knock coal out as a power generation competitor.

This is all true, but the problem is that fuel cells designed for larger scale power generation -- products that both FuelCell and Ballard offer -- don't really need to compete with coal right now. The real challenge is being a better option than natural gas. 

To be better than natural gas, FuelCell Energy and Ballard need to improve this important power generation metric: levelized cost of energy. Find out where they are today regarding this metric and how getting to parity with natural gas and other power generation sources is one step toward the ultimate goal of profitability by tuning into the video below. 

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  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2014, at 4:04 PM, HvyOnEzFool wrote:

    I’m fairly certain that you’ve got it all wrong – its adaptation tells us that the cost are coming down and as I see things, there are three (3) major obstacles blocking the advancement of “Fuel Cell Technology”.

    1. “Champions of the Status-Quo”

    a. C’mon, ask yourself the question or perhaps it is time for a confession

    2. The politicians in the “Champions of the Status-Quo” pockets

    3. Time delays instigated by the “Champions of the Status-Quo”

    • Fuel Cell Technology will soon synthesize coal - our most abundant natural resource http://www.netl.doe.gov/publications/factsheets/project/NT41...

    http://www.fuelcellenergy.com/advanced-technologies/solid-ox...

    http://www.platts.com/news-feature/2014/naturalgas/china-coa...

    http://energyoutlook.blogspot.com/2014/01/converting-coal-to...

    • Fuel Cell is synthesizing natural gas, which is cleaner than burning natural gas and more efficient, thus reducing the need and prolonging the supply of U.S. resources.

    http://www.fuelcellenergy.com/applications/clean-natural-gas...

    The costs of doing business (NATGAS vs. Fuel Cell) and (Coal vs. Fuel Cell) is certainly a valid investment consideration but the message is usually missed by readers because most analyst are more interested in giving their lopsided point-of-view in hopes of maintaining relationships with the status-quo elements or bolstering their own position (stated or not-stated).

    Valid or being made valid by the controlling interest, I’m betting that most of the arguments against fuel cell technology are just delaying the inevitable.

    Besides, saving the planet is definitely “in-vogue” - additionally, “We the People” are sick and tired of the status-quo!

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2014, at 4:12 PM, HvyOnEzFool wrote:

    I’m fairly certain that you’ve got it all wrong – its adoption tells us that the cost are coming down and as I see things, there are three (3) major obstacles blocking the advancement of “Fuel Cell Technology”.

    1. “Champions of the Status-Quo”

    a. C’mon, ask yourself the question or perhaps it is time for a confession

    2. The politicians in the “Champions of the Status-Quo” pockets

    3. Time delays instigated by the “Champions of the Status-Quo”

    • Fuel Cell Technology will soon synthesize coal - our most abundant natural resource http://www.netl.doe.gov/publications/factsheets/project/NT41...

    http://www.fuelcellenergy.com/advanced-technologies/solid-ox...

    http://www.platts.com/news-feature/2014/naturalgas/china-coa...

    http://energyoutlook.blogspot.com/2014/01/converting-coal-to...

    • Fuel Cell is synthesizing natural gas, which is cleaner than burning natural gas and more efficient, thus reducing the need and prolonging the supply of U.S. resources.

    http://www.fuelcellenergy.com/applications/clean-natural-gas...

    The costs of doing business (NATGAS vs. Fuel Cell) and (Coal vs. Fuel Cell) is certainly a valid investment considerations but the message is usually missed by readers because most analyst are more interested in giving their lopsided point-of-view in hopes of maintaining relationships with the status-quo elements or bolstering their own position (stated or not-stated).

    Valid or being made valid by the controlling interest, I’m betting that most of the arguments against fuel cell technology are just delaying the inevitable.

    Besides, saving the planet is definitely “in-vogue” - additionally, “We the People” are sick and tired of the status-quo!

  • Report this Comment On June 27, 2014, at 3:39 AM, Pagapa wrote:

    I guess I'll start by asking why you're talking about Ballard here at all. Ballard did supply a 1 MW fuel cell to a utility a few years to augment the plant's capacity during peak demand, but if BLDP is in the business of providing utility-scale power plants, it is a well kept secret.

    Beyond that, I'll simply note the irony in your decision to use a slide from one of FCEL's own company updates to suggest that FCEL needs to reduce the unsubsidized levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for electricity produced using its fuel cells to a point that is at or below the LCOE for important competitive technologies such as combined cycle natural gas. Obviously, FCEL agrees with you or they wouldn't routinely include that particular slide in their company updates. If you read the notes on the bottom of the slide, you know that the slide contains straightforward guidance about the point at which FCEL expect manufacturing economies of scale to drive their LCOE down to a level that will begin to make their molten carbonate fuel cell technology competitive with combined cycle gas turbine technology. If you think they'll hit that point (a production rate of 210 MW per year) in the not-to-distant future, now is a good time to be buying FCEL stock; if you don't, it's not.

    One final comment. You say, "The real challenge for FCEL and BLDP is being a better option than natural gas." In the case of FCEL, that statement is a bit misleading because FCEL's stationary power plants can use a variety of feedstocks including natural gas. Thus, the real question is, will a FCEL natural gas power plant be a better option than a combined cycle natural gas plant once FCEL gets its LCOE down to a reasonable level? If by "better" you mean lower green house gas emissions and fewer pollutants, the answer is yes.

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