Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Year End News: Nippon in India, FCE Partial Victory

Nippon Oil has stepped off the shores of Honshu in its quest for mCHP markets, surfacing in beautiful, bustling, downtown Mumbai. It is currently in negotiations with Bharat Petroleum (BPCL) to bring its ENEOS (there is nothing like a fuel cell product with a real live trade name) residential cogeneration product to India. Could NOC be eyeing the not so shabby grid-challenged Indian residential market? We'll have to see how this plays out - LPG predominates in India, so it would be a bigger win for the Sanyo Technology NOC recently purchased (see FuelCellIntel Nov. posting) than for Ballard whose stack is used in the NOC kerosene-fueled product. Ebara Ballard is licensed to manufacture the Ballard stacks in Japan when they go commercial in 2009-2010, so Burnaby, BC won't be filled up with Ballard manufacturing facilities (that's an optimistic thought).

And while we're on optimistic thoughts, FuelCell Energy finally got some business approved by the Connecticut DPU. The optimism is needed because the orders approved are for only 16.2 MW of the 68 MW worth recommended last spring. I thought the 68 was a stretch, and FCE's manufacturing capacity has been pushed to the limit with outstanding California (Linde) and Korean (POSCO) orders in the pipeline, and its changeover to the advanced (20% more power output) Direct Fuel Cell product manufacturing. There will be another review of the CT projects in January, but I'd say the future still looks pretty rosy for FCE.

And in Europe, watch for Morphic eating little FC firms and while it extends its continental reach from north to south. It may have a rational plan and enough expertise and financing to bring fuel cells to the EU people, so I wish the enterprise luck.

I hope everyone has safe and happy holidays, particularly today - Boxing Day and the first day of Kwanzaa. May the next year be cleaner, greener, and more peaceful for all despite the wonders of endless political debate and lack of constructive policies and action.

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