FuelCell Energy Value Stock - Dividend - Research Selection
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Description of the company
We deliver proprietary fuel cell power solutions that enable economic value with the clean and affordable supply, recovery and storage of energy. We serve utilities, industry and municipal power users on three continents with megawatt-class scalable solutions that include utility-scale and on-site power generation, carbon capture, local hydrogen production for transportation and industry, and energy storage. With more than 5.6 million megawatt hours of ultra-clean power produced, FuelCell Energy is a global leader in designing, manufacturing, installing, operating and maintaining environmentally responsible fuel cell power solutions.
We provide comprehensive turn-key power generation solutions to our customers, including power plant installation, operations and maintenance under multi-year service agreements. We develop projects and also sell direct to customers, providing either a comprehensive turn-key solution of developing, installing and servicing the fuel cell power plant, or selling the power plant equipment only. For projects that we develop, the end user of the power typically enters into a PPA and we either identify a project investor to purchase the power plant and assume the PPA, or we retain the project and recognize electricity revenue ratably over the term of the PPA. We target large-scale power users with our megawatt-class installations. To provide a frame of reference, one megawatt is adequate to power approximately 1,000 average sized U.S. homes. Our customer base includes utility companies, municipalities, universities, government entities and a variety of industrial and commercial enterprises. Our leading geographic markets are the United States, Germany and through a technology license, South Korea. We are pursuing expanding opportunities in Asia, Europe, and Canada.
Our value proposition is to enable economic value with clean and affordable fuel cell power plants that supply power where consumed. Our products can also be configured for recovery and storage applications. Our solutions are easy-to-site in populated areas as they are very clean, operate quietly and without vibrations, and have only modest space requirements. Fuel cells use an electrochemical process to convert a fuel source into electricity and heat in a highly efficient process that emits virtually no pollutants as the fuel is not burned, generating power that is almost wholly absent of criteria pollutants such as nitrogen oxide (NOx) that causes smog, sulfur dioxide (SOx) that contributes to acid rain, and particulate matter that can aggravate asthma. Locating power generation near the point of use reduces reliance on the transmission grid, leading to enhanced energy security and power reliability. Utilities can minimize or even avoid the cost of transmission or other infrastructure by adopting distributed generation, which saves their ratepayers the cost of installing and maintaining transmission and also avoids the losses associated with transmitting electricity over great distances. Our power plants provide electricity priced competitively to grid-delivered electricity in certain high cost regions and our strategy is to continue to reduce costs, which we believe will lead to wider adoption.
Utilizing our core DFC plants, we are commercializing a tri-generation distributed hydrogen configuration that generates electricity, heat and hydrogen for industrial and/or transportation uses, as well as a fuel cell carbon capture solution for coal or gas-fired power plants. We also are developing and commercializing SOFC plants for adjacent sub-megawatt applications to the markets for our megawatt-class DFC power plants as well as energy storage (RSOFC) applications utilizing hydrogen as an energy carrier. The market potential for these products is sizeable and these applications are complementary to our core products, as they leverage our existing customer base, project development, manufacturing, sales and service expertise.
FuelCell Energy was founded in Connecticut in 1969 as an applied research organization, providing contract research and development. The Company went public in 1992, raising capital to develop and commercialize fuel cells, and reincorporated in Delaware in 1999. We began selling stationary fuel cell power plants commercially in 2003. Today we develop turn-key distributed power generation solutions, operate and provide comprehensive service for the life of the asset.
Access to clean, affordable, continuous and reliable power defines modern lifestyles. The ability to provide power cleanly and efficiently is taking on greater importance and urgency in many regions of the world. Central generation and its associated transmission and distribution grid are difficult to site, costly, and generally take many years to permit and build. Some types of power generation that were widely adopted in the past, such as nuclear power or coal-fired power plants, are no longer welcome in certain regions. The cost and impact to public health and the environment of pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions impact the siting of new power generation. The attributes of DFC power plants address these challenges by providing virtually emission-free power and heat at the point of use in a highly efficient process that is affordable to consumers.
Our solutions are installed on both sides of the electric meter meaning that we serve on-site markets supplying power directly to the end user, as well as utility-scale projects that supply the power to the electric grid. We target seven distinct markets including:
(1) Utilities and Independent Power Producers
(2) Industrial and Process applications
(3) Education and Health care
(4) Data Centers and Communication
(5) Wastewater treatment
(7) Commercial and Hospitality
The Utilities and Independent Power Producers segment is our largest vertical market with customers that include utilities on the East and West coast of the United States such as Dominion (NYSE: D), one of the largest utilities in the Unites States: Avangrid Holdings (NYSE: AGR): and NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG), the largest Independent Power Producer (“IPP”) in the Unites States. Our carbon capture demonstration installation will be located at a power plant owned by a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO). In Europe, utility customers include E.ON Connecting Energies (DAX: EOAN), one of the largest utilities in the world, and Switzerland-based ewz. The greatest number of installed DFC plants is in South Korea primarily supplying that nation's electric grid, with the fuel cells' heat typically used in district heating systems to heat and cool nearby facilities. Our exclusive technology licensee in South Korea is POSCO Energy Co., LTD. (“POSCO Energy”), a subsidiary of South Korean-based POSCO (NYSE: PKX), one of the world's largest steel manufacturers.
Our DFC power plants are producing power for a variety of industrial, commercial, municipal and government customers including manufacturing, pharmaceutical processing, universities, healthcare facilities and wastewater treatment facilities. These institutions desire efficient, ultra-clean continuous power to reduce operating expenses, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and avoid pollutant emissions to meet their sustainability goals, while achieving secure and reliable on-site power. Combined heat and power fuel cell applications further support economic and sustainability initiatives by minimizing or avoiding use of combustion based boilers for heat.
Our products are fuel flexible, utilizing clean natural gas and renewable biogas generated by the customer on-site or directed biogas, generated at a distant location and transported via the existing gas network. In addition, we have demonstrated other fuel sources including coal syngas and propane.
As renewable technologies such as wind and solar power are deployed more widely, the need for a clean, continuous power generation that complements and balances these intermittent sources becomes greater to maintain grid stability or consistent power supply for on-site applications. Our installed base includes a number of locations where our customers use DFC plants for meeting power needs that complements their intermittent wind and/or solar power generation.
Our fuel cell solutions are well suited for micro-grid applications, either as the sole source of power, or integrated with other forms of power generation. We can model, install and operate the micro-grid, which is a differentiator in the power industry. We have fuel cells operating and under construction as micro-grids at universities and municipalities. Under normal operation, the fuel cell will supply power to the grid. If the grid is disrupted, the fuel cell will automatically disconnect from the grid and power a number of critical buildings.
Wastewater treatment facilities, food and beverage processors, and agricultural operations produce biogas as a byproduct of their operations. Disposing of this greenhouse gas can be harmful to the environment if released into the atmosphere or flared. Our DFC power plants convert this biogas into electricity and heat efficiently and economically. By doing so, DFC plants transform waste disposal challenges into clean energy solutions. The wastewater vertical market is the largest biogas market for DFC power plants. Since our fuel cells operate on the renewable biogas produced by the wastewater treatment process and their heat is used to support daily operations at the wastewater treatment facility, the overall thermal efficiency of these installations is very attractive, supporting economics and sustainability.
We estimate that the addressable distributed generation market and geographies in which we compete for the supply of energy, including distributed hydrogen production, is approximately a $22 billion opportunity, with approximately 40-45 percent consisting of power plant sales and the remainder representing associated service agreements. We estimate that the addressable market for the recovery of energy, including our fuel cell carbon capture solution and our gas pipeline application is approximately $28 billion, assuming only a 1% penetration rate of addressable coal and gas-fired central generation power plant facilities within the geographies where we do business, and only 25% carbon capture at these coal or gas-fired plants. The addressable energy storage market is still developing as different technologies are beginning to come to market with different approaches to storage and different durations for how long the energy can be stored. We estimate that the addressable market for long duration storage may be in the range of tens of billions of dollars.