A fuel cell is an electrochemical energy conversion device which produces electricity from external supplies of fuel and an oxidant. They can operate continuously, as long as the flow continues between the fuel and the oxidant. A fuel cell's electrodes are relatively stable, unlike a battery. The most common type of fuel cell is the hydrogen fuel cell, which uses hydrogen as fuel and oxygen as oxidant.
There are also alcohol fuel cells, hydrocarbon fuel cells, and several other types. Fuel cells are considered to have more benefits than other types of fuel due to the fact that fuel cells are more energy efficient and cleaner.
There are a large number of pure plays and semi-pure plays that are publicly traded. The majority of them have negative earnings, and many aren’t even generating any sales, so most of these should be considered very speculative.
The following is the list of most of the major fuel cell players:
Air Products and Chemicals (APD), markets various types of gasses worldwide. The company developed, and continues to operate a hydrogen production facility, a fuel cell power plant, and a fueling station which dispenses hydrogen and hydrogen blended fuels to a fleet of light duty vehicles in Las Vegas. It also supplies Honda Motor Company with high pressure gas, and two hydrogen fuelers for its Fuel Cell Vehicle Program with the city of Los Angeles. The stock has a P/E of 24.5, and is one of the few fuel cell related stocks that pays a dividend. It generates a yield of 1.8%.
Alternate Energy Corporation [ARGY.OB], is involved in bulk production of hydrogen, and saleable chemical by-products. It has no revenues, and negative earnings.
American Security Resources [ARSC.OB], is a Houston-based company that develops advanced hydrogen fuel cells. Its earnings have been negative.
Arotech Corporation (ARTX), develops, manufactures, and sells, defense and security products. This company also develops primary, and re-fuelable zinc-air fuel cell technology. Its earnings have been negative, but quarterly revenues were up 29.6% year over year. It has a P/S of .82.
Astris Energi [ASRNF.OB], develops fuel cells in the Czech Republic. The company generated a loss of $0.05 for 2006 versus a loss of $0.16 in 2005. The company reported in June that it is in the process of selling all of its assets to MKU Canada Inc.
Avista Corporation (AVA) is a Spokane, Washington company that was founded in 1889. It generates, and distribute energy throughout the United States, and Canada. The company also sells its patented fuel cells. Its patent covers any type of fuel cell system that utilizes multiple fuel cell modules. It has a P/E of 20.3, a P/S of .8, a PEG of 3.85, and generates a relatively high yield of 2.7%.
Axion Power Intl Inc (OTC:AXPW), is a company which produces lead-acid-carbon energy storage technologies, and is developing prototype e3 Supercells, which are low cost battery-supercapacitor hybrids that use the same cases, materials, components, and manufacturing equipment as conventional lead-acid batteries. In June, the company filed a Non-Reliance on Previous Financials, Audits, or Interim Review form with the SEC.
Ballard Power Systems (BLDP), designs, manufactures, and markets proton exchange membrane [PEM] fuel cells for power generation, automotive, and material products. The stock has negative earnings, and a P/S ratio of 11.14.
Cabot Corporation (CBT), is a specialty chemicals, and performance materials company. It also develops, and manufacture advanced fuel cell electrocatalysts for PEM, and DMFC fuel cells. This is another fuel cell dividend generator traded on the New York Stock Exchange that yields 1.5%. The P/E is 23.5, the PEG is 1.37, and the P/S is 1.16.
Distributed Energy (DESC), is involved in the production of products for the energy market. It makes, and sells Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) industrial hydrogen generators [electrolyzers], and fuel cell products. It has negative earnings, and a P/S of 1.14.
Ecotality, Inc. [ETLY.OB], is a Scottsdale, Arizona company which develops an electric power cell technology for various types of transportation vehicles including cars, buses, trucks, and trains. The company has been generating negative earnings.
Ener1 Inc. [ENEI.OB] , develops and sells batteries, fuel cells, and nanotechnology-related manufacturing products. It has negative earnings, and a P/S of over 623.
Energy Conversion Devices (ENER), is a Michigan company which trades on the NASDAQ. It develops and sells products, and production processes for the alternative energy generation, and energy storage markets. The company is working on a fuel system for powering vehicles powered solely by fuel cells. The stock has a forward P/E of 65.7, and a P/S of 12.1.
Enova Systems (ENA) , is an American Stock Exchange company that is based in Torrance, California. It develops and sells components for electric, hybrid-electric, fuel cell, and microturbine-powered vehicles. It has negative earnings, and a P/S of 33.5.
Entegris (ENTG), is a materials company, which trades on NASDAQ. It provides advanced fuel cell materials, components, sub-assemblies, and other services to fuel cell developers. The stock has a P/E of 26, P/S of 2.4, and a PEG of 1.33.
Fuel Cell Energy (FCEL), is a Connecticut company that was founded in 1969, and trades on the NASDAQ. It develops, manufactures, and markets fuel cell power plants for electric power generation. It has negative earnings, and a P/S of 15.4.
Fuel Systems Solutions (FSYS), trades on NASDAQ. It is involved in the designing, manufacturing, marketing, and supplying advanced products and systems that enable internal combustion engines to run on clean burning gaseous fuels such as natural gas, and propane. I could not find a direct reference to fuel cells on their web site. It has a P/E of 32.75, and a P/S of 1.21.
Hoku Scientific (HOKU), is a Hawaii-based company, which trades on the NASDAQ. It provides products, and services to the residential primary power, commercial back-up, and automotive hydrogen fuel cell markets. The stock has a forward P/E of 13.25, and a price sales ratio of 42.
HydroGen Corporation (HYDG) , trades on the NASDAQ. It is involved in the design, manufacture, marketing, and distribution of fuel cell modules, and energy systems using phosphoric acid fuel cells. Its earnings have been negative, and the P/S is 66.5.
Hydrogen Engine Center (OTC:HYEG), is involved in the design, and manufacture of internal combustion engines for the industrial and power generation markets. Its engines are designed to run on alternative fuels, including hydrogen. Its website seems to imply that its business may be in competition with fuel cells. Its earnings have been negative, and it has a P/S of 82.
Hydrogen Power (OTC:HYDP), develops and sells a proprietary hydrogen production process for use in commercial applications. Its earnings have been negative, and it has a P/S of 100.
Hydrogenics Corporation (HYGS), trades on the NASDAQ. It is involved in the design, development, manufacture, and sale of proton-exchange membrane (PEM), fuel cell automated test stations, fuel cell power products, and hydrogen generation equipment. It has negative earnings, and it has a P/S of 4.5.
Kemet Corporation (KEM), trades on the NYSE. It manufactures capacitors for electronics original equipment manufacturers, electronics manufacturing services providers, and electronics distributors. It has a possible connection to fuel cells. It has a P/E of 93.75, a P/S of .95, and a PEG of 1.3.
Magnetek Inc. (MAG), is a New York Stock Exchange company which makes, and markets digital power electronic product systems, and components along with power conditioners for commercial stationary fuel cells. The stock has a forward P/E of 19.1, and a P/S of 1.84.
Manhattan Scientifics Inc. [MHTX.PK], is a New York-based company which is involved in the production of micro fuel cell technology. Its earnings have been negative.
Mechanical Technology Incorporated (OTC:MKTY), is involved in the development of direct methanol fuel cell technology called Mobion, which generates electrical power using methanol as fuel. Its earnings have been negative, and its P/S is 5.6.
Medis Technologies Ltd. (OTC:MDTL), is involved in the development, production, and selling of direct liquid fuel cell products for consumer, and military markets. It has negative earnings, and a very high P/S of 3,329.
Millennium Cell Inc. (MCEL), develops hydrogen batteries comprised of a fuel cell ,and hydrogen storage technology which is used in portable electronic devices various markets. It has negative earnings, and a P/S of 185.
Neah Power Systems [NPWS.OB], is a Bothell, Washington-based company which develops miniature fuel cells that are used as power sources in laptop computers, cell phones, personal digital assistants, and other portable electronic devices. The stock has had negative earnings.
Pacific Fuel Cell [PFCE.OB], is a Tustin, California-based nanotechnology company. It is involved in the development, and production of carbon nanomaterial-based membrane electrode assemblies for fuel cells for the portable, and micro fuel cell market. The stock has had negative earnings.
Plug Power (PLUG), is involved in the production of proton exchange membrane fuel cell, and fuel processing technologies. It has negative earnings, and a P/S of 34.3.
Power Air [PWAC.OB] , develops, makes, and sells fuel cell-based commercial products including the development, and commercialization of zinc-air fuel cell [ZAFC] technology. The company has had negative earnings.
Praxair Inc (PX) , is a NYSE company which is involved in the production, and distribution of industrial gases around the world. Praxair provides its customers with hydrogen supply for fuel cells. Its P/E is 24, with a P/S of 2.85, a PEG of 1.75, and a yield of 1.5%.
Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide (QTWW), produces power train engineering, system integration, and manufacturing of packaged fuel systems, as well as specialty equipment for fuel cells, hybrids, alternative fuels, and hydrogen refueling. It is also involved in designing, engineering, and producing hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles. It has negative earnings, and a P/S of .68.
Teledyne Tech Systems (TDY), which trades on the NYSE. It produces electronic components and instruments, including hydrogen gas generators, and thermoelectric and fuel cell-based power sources that are used in power generation plants. It has a P/E of 20.8, a P/S of 1.12, and a PEG of 1.4.
United Technologies (UTX), is a NYSE company which produces technology products, and services to the building systems, and aerospace industries. It also produces fuel cells for commercial, transportation, and space applications. It has a P/E of 19.8, a P/S of 1.5, and a PEG of 1.54. It has a yield of 1.7%.
UQM Technologies (UQM), is an AMEX-traded company which produces and develops electric power systems for battery electric, hybrid electric, and fuel cell electric vehicles. It has a forward P/E of 43.6, and a P/S of 16.6.
ViaSpace [VSPC.OB], develops space, and defense technologies from NASA and the Department of Defense. Its technologies include disposable fuel cartridges for manufacturers of direct methanol fuel cells. Its earnings have been negative, and it has a P/S of 57.
Zap (OTC:ZAAP), is involved in the development, acquisition, and marketing of electric vehicles and electric vehicle power systems, including a fuel cell vehicle. Its earnings have been negative, and it has a P/S of 5.42.
Disclosure: The author does not own any of the above at this time.