The Fuel Cell Bust

O'Leary, Christopher
May 2003
Investment Dealers' Digest;5/12/2003, Vol. 69 Issue 19, p13
Trade Publication
Fuel cell manufacturing, once considered the vanguard of an energy revolution, is now a battered and confused sector whose prospects of profitability keep retreating into the distance, leaving a host of burned investors and venture capitalists. In mid-2001, when California was undergoing a series of blackouts, oil prices were rising and Enron Corp. was still a market darling rather than a pariah, market speculators descended upon what some were calling the next generation of energy producers-companies that were manufacturing hydrogen-powered fuel cells.In what analysts describe as the energy market's own variation on the dot-corn bubble, a good deal of money was thrown at anyone with a halfway-credible fuel cell plan, and the stock prices of market leaders like Ballard Power Systems Inc., Fuel cell Energy Inc. and Plug Power Inc. skyrocketed.“What bankers are now beginning to realize is that this was in effect public venture capital being funded,”


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