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Is This The Best Way To Play The Fuel Cell Market?

The potential of the fuel cell industry is obvious, even in the face of the rapid growth of electric vehicles (EVs). EVs are the anti-oil crusader’s vehicles of choice, but they too have ecological problems, and the more extreme environmentalists are already on the attack, pointing out that powering cars with electricity achieves nothing if that electricity is generated by burning fossil fuels. So, a power unit that uses only a naturally occurring gas and whose principal emission is water is appealing. Add in the fact that fuel cell technology, particularly hydrogen fuel cells, already has a pretty big foothold in some areas of the market, and, as I said, the potential of the industry is obvious.

The problem for investors is that although fuel cell stocks have been in the news a lot recently, the technology is not really new, with several companies dating back well over twenty years. Despite that though, the biggest problem potential investors in the industry still have is finding a company that fulfills the most fundamental role of a corporation…one that makes money. The three best know companies in the industry are Plug Power (PLUG), Fuel Cell Technologies (FCEL), and Ballard Power Systems (BLDP), and not one of them has had a profitable quarter as far back as I can remember. Companies can only keep posting losses for so long, so one like FCEL, which hasn’t ever recorded positive EPS dating back to 1999 is not an attractive proposition to me.


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