What happened

After two straight days of enjoying stock price gains fueled by news from other fuel cell companies, on Wednesday, fuel cell pioneer Plug Power (NASDAQ:PLUG) is finally going up because of some good news of its own.

This morning, Plug announced that it has developed a "lightweight, rugged 1kW" fuel cell system for use in "small scale robotics, automatic guided vehicles (AGVs), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and other aerospace applications."  

Plug stock is responding with a 7.9% jump through 10:05 a.m. EDT.

Stock up glowing green arrow climbs on a stock screen

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Plug explains that its new ProGen system is based on technology acquired through the company's June 2019 acquisition of EnergyOr, a Montreal-based fuel cell systems company that was doing work in aerospace fuel cell systems. The new fuel cell uses compressed hydrogen for its fuel, and Plug says the system "outperforms the average lithium battery in terms of endurance by a factor of three to four" -- and outperforms liquid hydrogen fueling systems by a factor of up to nine times.

Now what

Plug intends to use its new fuel cell system to power unspecified aircraft and UAVs. The company didn't say how large the new system is, or specifically what size aircraft it might be suitable to power, but the power and endurance advantages over batteries, if proven out, suggest the new system could prove a popular choice for a range of UAV manufacturers. Meanwhile, the company's suggestion that the fuel cell is also useful for robotics and autonomous ground vehicles, where size should be less of a limiting factor, suggests the market could be even wider than that for aerospace applications.

In short, this is good news for Plug. I'll still need to see the company earn a profit, though, before I can call Plug Power stock a bargain.