The environmental vomit spewed from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this year landed like a turd out of a donkey’s ass for the masses. The Hollywood foreign press should hire Ricky Gervais to give these gilded stool pigeons a wake-up call. It’s possible to envision Mr. Gervais saying from the podium at an awards banquet, “hey, the 1800’s called and they want their CEO’s back.”
Amazon has clearly demonstrated the benefits hydrogen provides in transportation, distribution and data center reliability – operations they want running securely 24 hours a day, every day. Realizing what a large and powerful mover they are in the market; Amazon rightly took a stake in Plug Power and is being rewarded for their due diligence. Energy company executives do not understand they are being beaten at their own game.
While Rex Tillerson recently testified in a shareholder fraud lawsuit Exxon Mobil management sought to understand the effects fossil fuels were having on climate change, clearly they have not been able to make heads nor tails from the discoveries of their research. Exxon Mobil shareholders should be livid about the diamonds that management watched being sold for pennies on the dollar all last summer in the form of Fuelcell Energy stock. The collective boardrooms of the entire fossil fuel refining, processing and distribution industries are equally clueless.
The legacy energy industries currently supplying the bulk of the world’s energy have transportation, distribution and refining operations that run 24-hours-a-day every day and none of them use hydrogen. It’s like the Ayn Rand novel Atlas Shrugged. Fuelcell Energy makes solid oxide fuel cells which is the same type of fuel cell Cummins Inc. is using to build fuel cell electric trucks and trains that will probably be pulling up to a refinery to help distribute product in the near future.
As if the monstrosity of overlooking the benefits of fuel cells from a pure process utilization wasn’t enough the solid oxide cell Fuelcell Energy produces already cleans nearly all the environmental pollutants from the refining process smokestacks that make it nearly impossible to build a new refinery. Their megawatt-class fuel cells provide power for industrial processes that need 24/7 energy reliability, security in their operations and industrial heat for industrial processes such as baking, brewing, distilling and refining.
Power outages are the main cause of refinery disruptions and it costs refiners millions when the power goes out. Add on top of that the cost of the environmental lawsuits caused by those explosions and it only adds up to more shareholder injury. If existing Fuelcell Energy technology had already been deployed, the nasty YouTube video of smoke rising from the latest power disruption at the Joliet, IL Exxon Mobil refinery already this year would have been avoided and millions of dollars would have been saved.
The refining process itself is where the oversight reaches Garden of Eden-level stupidity. Exxon Mobil seems to have forgotten that John D. Rockefeller made his fortune from refining crude oil not finding it. Even though their board has approved speculative drilling Exxon Engineering & Research has been doing work on capturing and using carbon during the conversion of fossil fuels into various forms of energy, i.e. refining.
The molten carbonate cell that Exxon has been developing with Fuelcell Energy will take the energy refining process all the way through distilling of the carbon di-oxide gases into high-value pure carbon building materials, electrical power and other derivative chemical products. This new income stream alone could dwarf all current revenue streams from the energy sector combined in the next ten years and at the same time eliminating carbon di-oxide litigation risk and expenses. The same can not be said for off shore drilling.
Of course, the ringing in of this decade’s new year also saw the reduction of the energy tax credit from 30% to 26% without any new fuel cells being ordered by the refining industry for current operations. Surely legacy energy industry executives are not going to watch as that tax credit shrinks to 22% at the end of this year if they expect shareholders and increasingly environmentally conscious Wall Street fund managers to allow them to remain.
Then again, hiring new blood might work. It’s not the first time a Goliath has fallen and a new history has been written.