Hydrogen fuel cell maker expects to see profits this year

April 4, 2014 1 By Bret Williams

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Ballard may be able to achieve profitability by the end of this year, if not sooner

Hydrogen Fuel - Expected ProfitsBallard Power Systems, a leading developer of hydrogen fuel cells, is ready to report its first official profits in its two-decade history. The company has been finding a great deal of success in the fuel cell industry, delivering energy systems to customers in many parts of the world. In the past, Ballard and other fuel cell companies had struggled to find anything resembling a profit. This was due to the lack of popularity surrounding fuel cells as well as their high cost and generally low efficiency. As fuel cell technology has advanced, however, fuel cells have managed to attract a great deal of attention.

Company continue to find success in new markets

CEO John Sheridan is set to retire at the end of 2014 and under his tenure, Ballard Power Systems has managed to break into public transportation and materials handling. The company has also established a strong foothold in the telecommunications industry, where its fuel cells are being used to power network antennas in foreign markets. Over the past few years, Ballard has been moving away from the auto industry in order to focus on markets that may have more promise.

Ballard moves away from the auto industry

While fuel cells are popular within the auto industry, most major automakers do not plan to release fuel cell vehicles until 2017 or later. This means that the auto industry is not as active a market as the materials handling space or even public transportation. Other companies in the fuel cell industry have taken a similar approach by expanding their focus away from the auto industry, paying more attention to materials handling and providing energy systems for data centers and telecommunications towers.

Other fuel cell makers attract the attention of investors

On March 10, Ballard stock dropped 40% after reaching the highest point it had seen in six years. Investors have been reassessing the valuations of fuel cell stocks recently and some have seen a great deal of promise. FuelCell Energy and Plug Power have seen similar interest from investors recently and these companies expect to see profits in the future as well.