GE exec sees limited, niche market for fuel cells


GE engineering chief Vlatko Vlatkovic says the company has studied fuel cell technology and sees only a limited, niche product: "It’s almost impossible to do a good fuel cell without platinum as a catalyst... Very little goes in, but if you scale it up, there’s not enough platinum in the world."

Battery names were mostly higher in today's trade: FCEL +0.8%, PLUG +6.8%, BLDP +5%, ZBB -3.1%.

This was corrected on 03/27/2014 at 08:23 PM.
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Comments (39)
  • Just_waiting_for_profit
    , contributor
    Comments (25) | Send Message
     
    FCEL CEO is not Andy Marsh. You mean PLUG
    27 Mar 2014, 06:32 PM Reply Like
  • Imperative Ideas
    , contributor
    Comments (11) | Send Message
     
    Nice to see Mr. Vlatkovic sharing his broad knowledge of the industry without bothering to validate his opinion against facts.

     

    Anyone who has been following the fuel cell market for more than a couple of months knows that Stillwater has been making inroads on palladium fuel cells: http://bit.ly/1i0ljZl

     

    This shouldn't be surprising, since it's exactly how the industry brought down the price of a catalytic converter. Maybe next time, do a little research first, eh?

     

    Hey Vlatko, would you like some salt or pepper with your helping of foot?
    27 Mar 2014, 06:42 PM Reply Like
  • sampsill
    , contributor
    Comments (26) | Send Message
     
    Your link is about palladium use in f-cells.
    It's not about palladium replacing platinum as a catalyst.
    Catalyst remains platinum.
    28 Mar 2014, 09:59 AM Reply Like
  • MrHexusThe1
    , contributor
    Comments (40) | Send Message
     
    Platinum is plentiful enough to be used in a multitude of applications including these and more.

     

    -jewellery

     

    -wire and vessels for laboratory use

     

    -thermocouple elements

     

    -electrical contacts

     

    -corrosion-resistant apparatus

     

    -platinum-cobalt alloys have magnetic properties

     

    -coating missile nose cones, jet engine fuel nozzles

     

    -the metal, like palladium, absorbs large volumes of hydrogen, giving it up at red heat

     

    -in the finely divided state platinum is an excellent catalyst (such as the contact process for producing sulphuric acid). Also as a catalyst for cracking oil and as a catalyst in fuel cells and in catalytic converters for cars

     

    -platinum anodes are extensively used in cathodic protection systems for large ships and ocean-going vessels, pipelines, steel piers

     

    -platinum wire glows red hot when placed in the vapor of methanol - acting as a catalyst to convert the alcohol into formaldehyde. This phenomenon has been used commercially to produce cigarette lighters and hand warmers

     

    -sealed electrodes in glass systems

     

    -laboratory vessels, corrosion-resistant equipment

     

    -dentistry

     

    -currently fashionable use in antipollution devices in cars

     

    -cis-platin, [PtCl2(NH3)2], is an effective drug for certain types of cancer such as leukaemia or testicular cancer

     

    -platinum/osmium 90/10 alloy is used in implants such as pacemakers and replacement valves
    27 Mar 2014, 06:46 PM Reply Like
  • Imperative Ideas
    , contributor
    Comments (11) | Send Message
     
    That and, as I mentioned above, palladium (typically as part of an alloy) makes an increasingly fine substitute.
    27 Mar 2014, 07:09 PM Reply Like
  • MrHexusThe1
    , contributor
    Comments (40) | Send Message
     
    BTW LOL at the Andy Marsh CEO of FCEL

     

    Noone that is bearish on PLUG ever has their facts straight.
    27 Mar 2014, 06:50 PM Reply Like
  • alan ljl
    , contributor
    Comments (272) | Send Message
     
    The WSJ last week had a great article on"CROWD SOURCING--AKA SEEKING ALPHA" The article analyzed the blog and the comments that followed. Their conclusion: The people commented were right about the direction of where a stock will go more often than the highly paid analysts on Wall Street.
    The above comments are a great example of this dynamic playing out right now.
    IMO the comments make more sense that the Alert Briefing above.
    27 Mar 2014, 07:46 PM Reply Like
  • ppallares
    , contributor
    Comments (15) | Send Message
     
    And as long as we're pointing out that Andy Marsh is not the CEO of FCEL, we may as well point out that FCEL does not use platinum in its fuel cells.
    27 Mar 2014, 07:49 PM Reply Like
  • dag_in_va
    , contributor
    Comments (21) | Send Message
     
    Where do they get these guys?!?!

     

    As has already been pointed out, Andy Marsh is CEO of Plug Power, not Fuelcell Energy.

     

    AND --- Fuelcell Energy fuel cells use no platinum or any other precious metal catalyst.

     

    Jeesh. Dag
    27 Mar 2014, 07:57 PM Reply Like
  • Kurt Windibank
    , contributor
    Comments (1304) | Send Message
     
    Anything for a click I guess...
    27 Mar 2014, 08:02 PM Reply Like
  • FF373737
    , contributor
    Comments (327) | Send Message
     
    I find it interesting that GE would even come out and make any statement regarding them unless they felt compelled to. Again, why would they feel compelled to?
    27 Mar 2014, 08:22 PM Reply Like
  • BiggerCapital
    , contributor
    Comments (21) | Send Message
     
    Why would GE comment of Fuel Cell? What did they say about cloud computing 10 years ago?
    27 Mar 2014, 08:31 PM Reply Like
  • pensaman
    , contributor
    Comments (214) | Send Message
     
    GE managers do have a problem with protecting their turf. When I recommended building intranet to share data (similar to WWW but inside a firewall), I almost got fired. But a week later Neutron Jack Welsch announced initiative and and orderd intranets to be bulit overnight with millions authorized ... It happened and Jack stopped the turf battles.. GE Management sometmes don't have a clue. but they do learn and change when they are forced to.. I am sure the current top guy from Cincinnati is paying attention and will do the right thing. Anything GE does, it will become a monopoly.. GE will have to buy PLUG, Ballard, FCEL and few others for few billions and roll them into Energy division..
    28 Mar 2014, 03:05 PM Reply Like
  • James Bjorkman
    , contributor
    Comments (2778) | Send Message
     
    If GE's founder Thomas Edison had felt that way about his topics of research, he never would have invented the light bulb. It's trial and error and finding substitutes that advances things, not "studying" a problem and concluding it is insolvable without even really trying.
    27 Mar 2014, 10:52 PM Reply Like
  • GA or GS/GE?
    , contributor
    Comments (19) | Send Message
     
    if this is really what the guy said, just like the previous microsoft ceo missed great opportunity of mobile technology, he will be the barrier to GE, and I feel USA looks no longer a great country since people are said for his own purpose, not for the innovation of the country any more.
    And if really as he said, the people working in the fuel cell office of DOE was hurt by such short vision. And remember that patents of fuel cell from asia is more than usa from last year, same as solar technology, whether usa can be the leader for a promising technology will be a question too.
    28 Mar 2014, 01:12 AM Reply Like
  • Doewap
    , contributor
    Comments (1009) | Send Message
     
    What a joker. He will be fired just before GE sees itself forced to pay high dollar for the technology. Not saying it will be Plug, but they will make acquisitions at some point.

     

    Www.acalenergy.co.uk

     

    Funny thing, he is from Albany, NY... Would he have a grudge of some sort? After all Plug origin is partly with GE...
    28 Mar 2014, 01:56 AM Reply Like
  • pensaman
    , contributor
    Comments (214) | Send Message
     
    you are not supposed to post the link. LOL

     

    Where do you think, the name GEn Drive came from... ? To show the mighty origins from GE partnership.
    GE has a problem with being Number#1 or Number#2 syndrome for a business model.

     

    they need to chanege their mindset and have Incubator Business programs and these businesses can bring on the paradigm shift like a lite bulb that changed the world... LOL
    28 Mar 2014, 03:07 PM Reply Like
  • noelbanner@aol.com
    , contributor
    Comments (2) | Send Message
     
    I would like to know what TYPE (hi temp, low temp, electrolyte etc.) of fuel cell is being discussed? I understood that porous Platinum was (is?) used for the electrodes and TREATED with a catalyst. When did platinum advance to be the catalyst and what material is being used for the electrode itself? Just interested.
    28 Mar 2014, 02:56 AM Reply Like
  • PJDENPH
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
     
    Yes, if you don't know Andy Marsh is with PLUG, then do you have the rest of your facts right?
    28 Mar 2014, 05:20 AM Reply Like
  • PeterJA
    , contributor
    Comments (5334) | Send Message
     
    Also, fuel cells are not batteries. They cannot be charged with electricity like batteries can, and require an external source of chemical fuel such as hydrogen. That's why they are called fuel cells. The fuel cell companies that SA lists are not "battery names."
    28 Mar 2014, 05:22 AM Reply Like
  • steve miller70
    , contributor
    Comments (415) | Send Message
     
    Vlatkovic is wrong. He used no back up facts because they don't exist.
    28 Mar 2014, 05:22 AM Reply Like
  • Brite
    , contributor
    Comments (12) | Send Message
     
    Sadly, Cramer gave viability to these "comments" by tweeting the link on Twitter.

     

    When I see garbage like that, I begin to lose confidence in everything else he says... or at the very least begin to wonder why it is he bothered to promote such inaccuracies.
    You can call a stock wrong and I'm still with you - but do your own homework and then make the wrong call...don't tag to some idiot's bad research and inability to author.

     

    I'm not pushing PLUG; I'm advocating for the individual investor. -Guess after 20 years, some habits never die.

     

    Check your facts! This is a turnaround story!
    Why do so many hate the underdog so much??
    28 Mar 2014, 05:41 AM Reply Like
  • Doewap
    , contributor
    Comments (1009) | Send Message
     
    Shorts don't hate underdogs. They love 'em! They're making big bucks off the backs of the weak hands who fear the future because their dd is not coming up with favourable figures.

     

    The problem is: most private investors do their DD based on...

     

    1. articles written by shorts and/or
    2. the past
    31 Mar 2014, 06:20 AM Reply Like
  • dontsufferfools
    , contributor
    Comments (2) | Send Message
     
    GE didn't comment, an employee of GE made remarks of his own accord. Do we know what his stock position is? More importantly, if he is really speaking for GE would it not be in his (and GE's) best interest to denigrate the technology of a rival?
    28 Mar 2014, 05:41 AM Reply Like
  • lageorges
    , contributor
    Comments (2) | Send Message
     
    Too funny ...although I have mixed feelings about PLUG , and lack the expertise to assess the viability of an economic hydrogen fuel cell...the pronouncement by Mr Vlatkovic reminded of another product turned down by both GE and IBM , the photocopier...apparently there was no market or future for such a machine !
    28 Mar 2014, 05:41 AM Reply Like
  • Brite
    , contributor
    Comments (12) | Send Message
     
    I'm long PLUG and what a surprise that I just learned from these (inaccurate comments), that I own a "BATTERY" name! <NOT>
    28 Mar 2014, 05:47 AM Reply Like
  • Doc's Trading
    , contributor
    Comments (1847) | Send Message
     
    Brite.........Amen !
    28 Mar 2014, 10:32 AM Reply Like
  • Amatot
    , contributor
    Comments (12) | Send Message
     
    My question is, Why are there so many "helpful people" trying to swade us on what company to invest in. Thanks for all the help ;) DD long PLUG
    28 Mar 2014, 05:47 AM Reply Like
  • dhkrikor
    , contributor
    Comments (21) | Send Message
     
    "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."

     

    Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977
    28 Mar 2014, 05:51 AM Reply Like
  • juako
    , contributor
    Comments (3) | Send Message
     
    Why did you take out what the CEO of Plug statement that says they are able to recover 95% of the platinum from the spent Fuel cell and reuse it?
    28 Mar 2014, 05:51 AM Reply Like
  • ThinkFuture91
    , contributor
    Comments (4) | Send Message
     
    its because they see a market they missed out on and fortunately there is one fuel cell company that uses a different catalyst. Neah Power ($NPWZ) uses a patented type of silicone which is much cheaper.
    28 Mar 2014, 05:52 AM Reply Like
  • juako
    , contributor
    Comments (3) | Send Message
     
    FCEL uses molten carbonate instead of platinum and they are developing solid oxide technology that is even more efficient. I guess your source at GE has not been following the technological advances that have taken place in the fuel cell technology. Please, if you are going to write an article about a subject do your diligence, otherwise you are just misinforming readers and your credibility will be questioned.
    28 Mar 2014, 05:52 AM Reply Like
  • ramibar
    , contributor
    Comments (2) | Send Message
     
    mr Vlatkovic let's start with a nich in the car market. for exmple the suv cars.
    28 Mar 2014, 07:28 AM Reply Like
  • User 19685791
    , contributor
    Comments (2) | Send Message
     
    Do you think that FCEL is developing solid oxide technology because of some of the success that Bloom Energy has had with data centers?
    28 Mar 2014, 09:42 AM Reply Like
  • dag_in_va
    , contributor
    Comments (21) | Send Message
     
    User 19685791 asks: "Do you think that FCEL is developing solid oxide technology because of some of the success that Bloom Energy has had with data centers?"

     

    Fuelcell Energy bought Global Thermo-dynamics to get their SOFC fuel cell technology almost a decade ago, long before Bloom existed.

     

    But frankly, their management of that IP has seemed sort of directionless. They contributed it to a joint venture with PNNL, Gas Technology Institute and others to form Versa Power, and it seemed to sort of drift. Only recently have they taken it back under full management. They have been more open than Bloom about the state of their technology, but I am concerned about their apparent over dependence on government research contracts (their own or their partners).

     

    dag
    28 Mar 2014, 09:53 AM Reply Like
  • CAMAGOO
    , contributor
    Comments (8) | Send Message
     
    Fortune 500 company contract,couple more annoucements coming soon.Say the sky is falling ,Im going to sit back an watch this baby light up!ChaChing.These company's see true cost effective savings and savings is cold hard cash.PLUG 'S just getting warmed up.As far as GE go's there closing plant's in this country one just 20 miles from where I'm sitting I think he should be more concerned with GE.
    28 Mar 2014, 09:47 AM Reply Like
  • Wise Timmy
    , contributor
    Comments (298) | Send Message
     
    I don't know why you're all complaining: He sees a niche. "Limited" or otherwise there will be a market.

     

    He's probably being quoted a little out of context: Regarding the potential of distributed power to displace one of GE's core businesses: Centralized power distribution.
    28 Mar 2014, 01:38 PM Reply Like
  • GA or GS/GE?
    , contributor
    Comments (19) | Send Message
     
    Interested in Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies? Help Shape the H2 Refuel H-Prize Competition

     

    and

     

    Upcoming Webinar on EERE's FY15 Budget for Sustainable Transportation
    The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) will present a live webinar on EERE's FY15 budget for sustainable transportation on Thursday, April 3, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. EDT. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Reuben Sarkar will provide an in-depth review of EERE’s sustainable transportation budget, and the directors of the Fuel Cell Technologies, Vehicle Technologies, and Bioenergy Technologies Offices will discuss details of each office's FY15 budget request.

     

    http://1.usa.gov/1myDF9A

     

    this is what the great usa people doing for the cleaner and better life

     

    and here shows how fast the fuel cell is on the way: http://bit.ly/1myDCdP

     

    so i think the GE guy may be the fake one, usa, please don't miss it again!!!
    28 Mar 2014, 02:24 PM Reply Like
  • p14756
    , contributor
    Comments (8) | Send Message
     
    Well that's interesting. Maybe the platinum v. palladium thing isn't stated and FCEL can do well with palladium as a cataylst. It's positive in a sense that GE is eyeing up the market. Honestly, other than fuel cells is there something that GE or Siemens isn't involved in? Personally in my humble opinion I think Cramer is shorting the stock if not directly then indirectly by driving the topic on CNBC. Why else go on and on for 2 weeks about what is pretty much a micro cap company. I like Cramer just curious about the end game. BTW check out PAL north american producer of Palladium. Don't have to rely on Russia or South Africa with their issues, geopolitical, global sanctions and labor related and such. Palladium is about 2/3 the cost of platinum and typically is interchangeable for most processes.Good luck to all in the fuel cell space, I'm very optimistic especially with biogas and chemical interaction as natural gas is manipulated like oil. Don't hate the rigged system use it to your advantage.
    30 Mar 2014, 02:52 AM Reply Like
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