Company Quick10K Filing
Fuelcell Energy
Closing Price ($) Shares Out (MM) Market Cap ($MM)
$0.00 118 $47
10-Q 2020-03-16 Quarter: 2020-01-31
10-K 2020-01-22 Annual: 2019-10-31
10-Q 2019-09-09 Quarter: 2019-07-31
10-Q 2019-06-17 Quarter: 2019-04-30
10-Q 2019-03-07 Quarter: 2019-01-31
10-K 2019-01-10 Annual: 2018-10-31
10-Q 2018-09-06 Quarter: 2018-07-31
10-Q 2018-06-07 Quarter: 2018-04-30
10-Q 2018-03-08 Quarter: 2018-01-31
10-K 2018-01-11 Annual: 2017-10-31
10-Q 2017-09-08 Quarter: 2017-07-31
10-Q 2017-06-08 Quarter: 2017-04-30
10-Q 2017-03-09 Quarter: 2017-01-31
10-K 2017-01-12 Annual: 2016-10-31
10-Q 2016-09-08 Quarter: 2016-07-31
10-Q 2016-06-09 Quarter: 2016-04-30
10-Q 2016-03-10 Quarter: 2016-01-31
10-K 2016-01-08 Annual: 2015-10-31
10-Q 2015-09-09 Quarter: 2015-07-31
10-Q 2015-06-09 Quarter: 2015-04-30
10-Q 2015-03-11 Quarter: 2015-01-31
10-K 2015-01-09 Annual: 2014-10-31
10-Q 2014-09-09 Quarter: 2014-07-31
10-Q 2014-06-05 Quarter: 2014-04-30
10-Q 2014-03-12 Quarter: 2014-01-31
10-K 2014-01-06 Annual: 2013-10-31
10-Q 2013-09-06 Quarter: 2013-07-31
10-Q 2013-06-07 Quarter: 2013-04-30
10-Q 2013-03-12 Quarter: 2013-01-31
10-K 2013-01-14 Annual: 2012-10-31
10-Q 2012-09-07 Quarter: 2012-07-31
10-Q 2012-06-08 Quarter: 2012-04-30
10-Q 2012-03-12 Quarter: 2012-01-31
10-K 2012-01-17 Annual: 2011-10-31
10-Q 2011-09-09 Quarter: 2011-07-31
10-Q 2011-06-09 Quarter: 2011-04-30
10-Q 2011-03-14 Quarter: 2011-01-31
10-K 2011-01-14 Annual: 2010-10-31
10-Q 2010-09-09 Quarter: 2010-07-31
10-Q 2010-06-09 Quarter: 2010-04-30
10-Q 2010-03-12 Quarter: 2010-01-31
10-K 2010-01-14 Annual: 2009-10-31
8-K 2020-03-18 Regulation FD, Other Events, Exhibits
8-K 2020-03-16 Earnings, Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2020-02-19 Other Events
8-K 2020-02-11 Enter Agreement, Off-BS Arrangement, Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2020-01-22 Earnings, Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2020-01-13 Other Events
8-K 2019-12-19 Enter Agreement, Off-BS Arrangement, Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2019-12-11 Other Events
8-K 2019-11-20 Enter Agreement, Leave Agreement, Off-BS Arrangement, Sale of Shares, Officers, Other Events, Exhibits
8-K 2019-10-31 Enter Agreement, Leave Agreement, Off-BS Arrangement, Sale of Shares, Regulation FD, Other Events, Exhibits
8-K 2019-10-21 Enter Agreement, Other Events, Exhibits
8-K 2019-10-04 Enter Agreement, Exhibits
8-K 2019-09-27 Enter Agreement, Leave Agreement, Other Events, Exhibits
8-K 2019-09-12 Officers, Other Events
8-K 2019-09-09 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2019-08-19 Enter Agreement, Officers, Exhibits
8-K 2019-08-08 Enter Agreement, Other Events, Exhibits
8-K 2019-07-30 Officers, Exhibits
8-K 2019-07-24 Enter Agreement, Other Events, Exhibits
8-K 2019-07-19 Other Events
8-K 2019-07-18
8-K 2019-07-15 Officers
8-K 2019-07-11 Enter Agreement, Exhibits
8-K 2019-07-11 Other Events
8-K 2019-07-03 Other Events
8-K 2019-06-28 Enter Agreement, Exhibits
8-K 2019-06-11 Enter Agreement, Exhibits
8-K 2019-06-07 Officers
8-K 2019-06-05 Officers
8-K 2019-06-02 Enter Agreement, Officers
8-K 2019-05-28 Other Events
8-K 2019-05-16 Enter Agreement, Off-BS Arrangement, Exhibits
8-K 2019-05-08 Enter Agreement, M&A, Off-BS Arrangement, Other Events, Exhibits
8-K 2019-05-08 Shareholder Rights, Amend Bylaw, Other Events, Exhibits
8-K 2019-04-12 Officers, Other Events
8-K 2019-04-04 Shareholder Vote
8-K 2019-03-29 Enter Agreement, Exhibits
8-K 2019-03-19 Officers
8-K 2019-03-07 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2019-02-28 Enter Agreement, Off-BS Arrangement, Other Events, Exhibits
8-K 2019-02-21 Enter Agreement, Sale of Shares, Shareholder Rights, Exhibits
8-K 2019-01-28 Officers
8-K 2019-01-28 Enter Agreement, Exhibits
8-K 2019-01-10 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2018-12-19 Enter Agreement, Off-BS Arrangement, Other Events, Exhibits
8-K 2018-12-13 Enter Agreement, Exhibits
8-K 2018-11-28
8-K 2018-11-08 Officers, Other Events, Exhibits
8-K 2018-10-31 Enter Agreement, Other Events, Exhibits
8-K 2018-09-06 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2018-08-27 Enter Agreement, Shareholder Rights, Amend Bylaw, Other Events, Exhibits
8-K 2018-06-15 Leave Agreement
8-K 2018-06-13 Enter Agreement, Exhibits
8-K 2018-06-07 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2018-04-05 Officers, Shareholder Vote, Exhibits
8-K 2018-03-28 Enter Agreement, Other Events, Exhibits
8-K 2018-03-08 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2018-01-11 Earnings, Exhibits
FCEL 2019-10-31
Part I
Item 1. Business
Item 1A. Risk Factors
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 2. Properties
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Part II
Item 5. Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Item 6. Selected Financial Data
Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
Item 8. Consolidated Financial Statements and Supplementary Data
Note 1. Nature of Business, Basis of Presentation and Significant Accounting Policies
Note 2. Revenue Recognition
Note 3. Acquisition
Note 4. Restructuring and Impairment
Note 5. Accounts Receivable, Net and Unbilled Receivables
Note 6. Inventories
Note 7. Project Assets
Note 8. Property, Plant and Equipment
Note 9. Goodwill and Intangible Assets
Note 10. Other Current Assets
Note 11. Other Assets
Note 12. Accrued Liabilities
Note 13. Debt
Note 14. Stockholders' Equity and Warrant Liabilities
Note 15. Redeemable Preferred Stock
Note 16. Segment Information
Note 17. Benefit Plans
Note 18. Income Taxes
Note 19. Loss per Share
Note 20. Commitments and Contingencies
Note 21. Supplemental Cash Flow Information
Note 22. Quarterly Information (Unaudited)
Note 23. Subsequent Events
Item 9. Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure
Item 9A. Controls and Procedures
Item 9B. Other Information
Part III
Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance
Item 11. Executive Compensation
Item 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters
Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence
Item 14. Principal Accounting Fees and Services
Part IV
Item 15. Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules
Item 16. Form 10-K Summary
EX-4.13 fcel-ex413_787.htm
EX-4.14 fcel-ex414_986.htm
EX-4.15 fcel-ex415_987.htm
EX-10.68 fcel-ex1068_521.htm
EX-10.117 fcel-ex10117_786.htm
EX-21 fcel-ex21_11.htm
EX-23.1 fcel-ex231_12.htm
EX-31.1 fcel-ex311_6.htm
EX-31.2 fcel-ex312_13.htm
EX-32.1 fcel-ex321_10.htm
EX-32.2 fcel-ex322_7.htm

Fuelcell Energy Earnings 2019-10-31

FCEL 10K Annual Report

Balance SheetIncome StatementCash Flow

Comparables ($MM TTM)
Ticker M Cap Assets Liab Rev G Profit Net Inc EBITDA EV G Margin EV/EBITDA ROA
ARTX 79 131 55 91 29 -1 2 82 32% 35.2 -0%
HPJ 48 269 187 224 49 11 20 0 22% 0.0 4%
FCEL 47 361 217 68 3 -56 -49 123 5% -2.5 -16%
TAYD 42 44 6 30 9 3 4 30 29% 7.0 6%
BTN 43 61 35 45 12 -9 -6 43 26% -7.7 -15%
POLA 32 29 6 24 8 1 1 29 32% 24.5 2%
SCX 39 189 108 228 76 6 10 52 33% 5.2 3%
LBY 67 741 751 576 115 -52 4 457 20% 118.2 -7%
LGL 50 39 5 23 0 6 3 38 0% 12.3 16%
CRR 66 439 161 184 -24 -87 -65 78 -13% -1.2 -20%

10-K 1 fcel-10k_20191031.htm 10-K fcel-10k_20191031.htm

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended October 31, 2019

OR

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from                      to

Commission file number: 1-14204

 

FUELCELL ENERGY, INC.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

Delaware

 

06-0853042

(State or other jurisdiction of

 

(I.R.S. Employer

incorporation or organization)

 

Identification No.)

 

 

 

3 Great Pasture Road

 

 

Danbury, Connecticut

 

06810

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

(Zip Code)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (203) 825-6000

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

 

Trading Symbol (s)

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Stock, $0.0001 par value per share

 

FCEL

 

The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC (Nasdaq Global Market)

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ☐ No

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act. Yes ☐ No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer 

 

Accelerated filer 

 

Non-accelerated filer 

 

Smaller reporting company 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emerging growth company 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes No

As of April 30, 2019, the aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was $42,440,268 based on the closing sale price of $3.12 as reported on the NASDAQ Global Market.

Indicate the number of shares outstanding of each of the registrant’s classes of common stock, as of the latest practicable date.

 

Class

 

Outstanding at January 14, 2020

Common Stock, $0.0001 par value per share

 

210,965,999

DOCUMENT INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

 

Document

 

Parts Into Which Incorporated

Definitive Proxy Statement for the 2020Annual Meeting of Stockholders

 

Part III

 


 

FUELCELL ENERGY, INC.

INDEX

 

 

 

Page

Description

 

Number

Part I

 

 

 

 

 

Item 1 Business

 

3

 

 

 

Item 1A Risk Factors

 

32

 

 

 

Item 1B Unresolved Staff Comments

 

51

 

 

 

Item 2 Properties

 

51

 

 

 

Item 3 Legal Proceedings

 

51

 

 

 

Item 4 Mine Safety Disclosures

 

51

 

 

 

Part II

 

 

 

 

 

Item 5 Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

 

52

 

 

 

Item 6 Selected Financial Data

 

54

 

 

 

Item 7 Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

 

56

 

 

 

Item 7A Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

 

92

 

 

 

Item 8 Consolidated Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

 

93

 

 

 

Item 9 Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

 

152

 

 

 

Item 9A Controls and Procedures

 

152

 

 

 

Item 9B Other Information

 

153

 

 

 

Part III

 

 

 

 

 

Item 10 Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

 

156

 

 

 

Item 11 Executive Compensation

 

156

 

 

 

Item 12 Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

 

156

 

 

 

Item 13 Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

 

156

 

 

 

Item 14 Principal Accounting Fees and Services

 

157

 

 

 

Part IV

 

 

 

 

 

Item 15 Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

 

157

 

 

 

Item 16 Form 10-K Summary

 

168

 

 

 

Signatures

 

169

 

 

 

2


 

PART I

Item 1.

BUSINESS

 

Index to Item 1. BUSINESS

 

Page

 

 

 

Forward-Looking Statement Disclaimer

 

4

 

 

 

Background

 

5

 

 

 

Additional Technical Terms and Definitions

 

6

 

 

 

Overview

 

7

 

 

 

Products

 

9

 

 

 

Advanced Technology Programs

 

11

 

 

 

Business Strategy

 

14

 

 

 

Markets

 

17

 

 

 

Manufacturing and Service Facilities

 

18

 

 

 

Raw Materials and Supplier Relationships

 

19

 

 

 

Engineering, Procurement and Construction

 

19

 

 

 

Services and Warranty Agreements

 

20

 

 

 

License Agreements and Royalty Income, Relationship with POSCO Energy

 

20

 

 

 

Company Funded Research and Development

 

21

 

 

 

Backlog

 

22

 

 

 

Fuel Cell Technologies

 

23

 

 

 

Competition

 

24

 

 

 

Regulatory and Legislative Environment

 

25

 

 

 

Government Regulation

 

26

 

 

 

Proprietary Rights and Licensed Technology

 

26

 

 

 

Significant Customers and Information about Geographic Areas

 

27

 

 

 

Sustainability

 

28

 

 

 

Associates

 

29

 

 

 

Available Information

 

29

 

3


 

Forward-Looking Statement Disclaimer

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains statements that the Company believes to be “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements other than statements of historical fact included in this Form 10-K, including statements regarding the Company’s future financial condition, results of operations, business operations and business prospects, are forward-looking statements.  Words such as “expects,” “anticipates,” “estimates,” “projects,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “predicts,” “should,” “will,” “could,” “would,” “may,” “forecast,” and similar expressions and variations of such words are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Such statements relate to, among other things, the following:

 

the development and commercialization by FuelCell Energy, Inc. and its subsidiaries (“FuelCell Energy,” “Company,” “we,” “us” and “our”) of fuel cell technology and products and the market for such products,

 

expected operating results such as revenue growth and earnings,

 

our belief that we have sufficient liquidity to fund our business operations for the next 12 months,

 

future funding under Advanced Technologies contracts,

 

future financing for projects, including publicly issued bonds, equity and debt investments by investors and commercial bank financing,

 

the expected cost competitiveness of our technology, and

 

our ability to achieve our sales plans, market access and market expansion goals, and cost reduction targets.

The forward-looking statements contained in this report are subject to risks and uncertainties, known and unknown, that could cause actual results to differ materially from those forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, the risks contained under Item 1A - Risk Factors of this report and the following:

 

general risks associated with product development and manufacturing,

 

general economic conditions,

 

changes in the utility regulatory environment,    

 

changes in the utility industry and the markets for distributed generation, distributed hydrogen, and carbon capture configured fuel cell power plants,

 

potential volatility of energy prices,

 

availability of government subsidies and economic incentives for alternative energy technologies,

 

our ability to remain in compliance with U.S. federal and state and foreign government laws and regulations and the listing rules of The Nasdaq Stock Market (“Nasdaq”),

 

rapid technological change,

 

competition,

 

our dependence on strategic relationships,

 

market acceptance of our products,

 

changes in accounting policies or practices adopted voluntarily or as required by accounting principles generally accepted in the United States,

 

factors affecting our liquidity position and financial condition,

 

government appropriations,

 

the ability of the government to terminate its development contracts at any time,

 

the ability of the government to exercise “march-in” rights with respect to certain of our patents,

4


 

 

the situation with POSCO Energy has limited and continues to limit our efforts to access the South Korean and Asian markets and could expose us to costs of arbitration or litigation proceedings,

 

our ability to implement our strategy,

 

our ability to reduce our levelized cost of energy and our cost reduction strategy generally,

 

our ability to protect our intellectual property,

 

litigation and other proceedings,

 

the risk that commercialization of our products will not occur when anticipated,

 

our need for and the availability of additional financing,

 

our ability to generate positive cash flow from operations,

 

our ability to service our long-term debt,

 

our ability to increase the output and longevity of our power plants, and

 

our ability to expand our customer base and maintain relationships with our largest customers and strategic business allies.

We cannot assure you that:

 

we will be able to meet any of our development or commercialization schedules,

 

we will be able to remain in compliance with the minimum bid price requirement of the Nasdaq listing rules,

 

any of our new products or technology, once developed, will be commercially successful,

 

our existing SureSource power plants will remain commercially successful,

 

the government will appropriate the funds anticipated by us under our government contracts,

 

the government will not exercise its right to terminate any or all of our government contracts, or

 

we will be able to achieve any other result anticipated in any other forward-looking statement contained herein.

The forward-looking statements contained herein speak only as of the date of this report and readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Except for ongoing obligations to disclose material information under the federal securities laws, we expressly disclaim any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any such statement to reflect any change in our expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.

 

Background

Information contained in this report concerning the electric power supply industry and the distributed generation market, our general expectations concerning this industry and this market, and our position within this industry are based on market research, industry publications, other publicly available information and assumptions made by us based on this information and our knowledge of this industry and this market, which we believe to be reasonable.  Although we believe that the market research, industry publications and other publicly available information, including the sources that we cite in this report, are reliable, they have not been independently verified by us and, accordingly, we cannot assure you that such information is accurate in all material respects.  Our estimates, particularly as they relate to our general expectations concerning the electric power supply industry and the distributed generation market, involve risks and uncertainties and are subject to change based on various factors, including those discussed under Item 1A - Risk Factors of this report.

5


 

As used in this report, all degrees refer to Fahrenheit (“F”); kilowatt (“kW”) and megawatt (“MW”) numbers designate nominal or rated capacity of the referenced power plant; “efficiency” or “electrical efficiency” means the ratio of the electrical energy generated in the conversion of a fuel to the total energy contained in the fuel (lower heating value, the standard for power plant generation, assumes the water in the product is in vapor form; as opposed to higher heating value, which assumes the water in the product is in liquid form, net of parasitic load); kW means 1,000 watts; MW means 1,000,000 watts; “kilowatt hour” (“kWh”) is equal to 1kW of power supplied to or taken from an electric circuit steadily for one hour; and one British Thermal Unit (“Btu”) is equal to the amount of heat necessary to raise one pound of pure water from 59oF to 60oF at a specified constant pressure.

All dollar amounts are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise noted.

 

Additional Technical Terms and Definitions

 

Advanced Technologies - Advanced Technologies projects involve the development of new products or applications based on existing carbonate or solid oxide technologies or new electrochemical technologies.  Examples are carbon capture, distributed hydrogen, solid oxide fuel cells and solid oxide electrolysis cell technologies.  Advanced Technologies projects are typically externally funded by government or private sources and executed by our Advanced Technologies Group.

Availability - A measure of the amount of time a system is available to operate, as a fraction of total calendar time.  For power generation equipment, an industry standard (IEEE (The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) 762, “Definitions for Use in Reporting Electric Generating Unit Reliability, Availability and Productivity”) is used to compute availability. “Availability percentage” is calculated as total period hours since Commercial Operations Date less hours not producing electricity due to planned and unplanned maintenance divided by total period hours. Grid disturbances, force majeure events and site specific issues such as a lack of available fuel supply or customer infrastructure repair do not penalize the calculation of availability according to this standard.

Carbonate Fuel Cell (“CFC”) - Carbonate fuel cells, such as the fuel cell power plants produced and sold by FuelCell Energy, are high-temperature fuel cells that use an electrolyte composed of a carbonate salt mixture suspended in a porous, chemically inert ceramic-based matrix. CFCs operate at high temperatures, enabling the use of a nickel-based catalyst, a lower cost alternative to precious metal catalysts used in some other fuel cell technologies.

Combined Heat & Power (“CHP”) - A power plant configuration or mode of operation featuring simultaneous on-site generation from the same unit of fuel of both electricity and heat with the heat used to produce steam, hot water or heated air for both heating and cooling applications.

Commercial Operations Date (“COD”) - The date that testing and commissioning of a fuel cell project is completed and the fuel cell power plant is operational with power being generated and sold to the end-user.

Distributed Generation - Electric power that is generated where it is needed (distributed throughout the power grid) rather than from a central location. Centrally generated power requires extensive transmission networks that require maintenance and experience efficiency losses during transmission while distributed generation does not.  Distributed generation is typically classified as small to mid-size power plants, typically generating 75 MW or less.  Central generation is typically classified as large power plants generating hundreds or even thousands of MW.

Microgrids - Microgrids are localized electric grids that can disconnect from the traditional electric grid to operate autonomously and strengthen grid resiliency.  Microgrids can be composed only of SureSource power plants due to their continual power output or combine a variety of power generation types such as fuel cells and solar arrays.

Nitrogen Oxides (“NOx”) - Generic term for a group of highly reactive gases, all of which contain nitrogen and oxygen in varying amounts. Many of the NOx are colorless and odorless; however, they are a major precursor to smog production and acid rain. One common pollutant, Nitrogen Dioxide, along with particles in the air, can often be seen as a reddish-brown layer over an urban area. NOx form when fuel is burned at high temperatures, as in a combustion process. The primary manmade sources of NOx are motor vehicles, traditional fossil fuel fired electric utility generation, and other industrial, commercial and residential sources that burn fuels.

6


 

Particulate Matter (“PM”) - Solid or liquid particles emitted into the air that are generally caused by the combustion of materials or dust generating activities. Particulate matter caused by combustion can be harmful to humans as the fine particles of chemicals, acids and metals may get lodged in lung tissue.

Power Purchase Agreement (“PPA”) - A Power Purchase Agreement is a contract that enables a power user to purchase energy under a long-term contract where the user agrees to pay a predetermined rate for the kilowatt-hours delivered from a power generating asset while avoiding the need to own the equipment and pay the upfront capital cost.  The PPA rate is typically fixed (with an escalation clause tied to a consumer price index or similar index), or pegged to a floating index that is on par with or below the current electricity rate being charged by the local utility company. A PPA is typically for a term of 10 to 20 years.

Renewable Biogas or Biogas - Renewable Biogas is fuel produced by biological breakdown of organic material.  Biogas is commonly produced in biomass digesters employing bacteria in a heated and controlled oxygen environment.  These digesters are typically used at wastewater treatment facilities or food processors to break down solid waste and the biogas produced is a byproduct of the waste digestion. Biogas can be used as a renewable fuel source for SureSource fuel cell plants located on site where the biogas is produced with gas cleanup, or it can be processed further to meet pipeline fuel standards and injected into a gas pipeline network, which is termed Directed Biogas.  Directed Biogas requires additional processing to increase the Btu content of the gas, which increases cost and consumes power.  Use of Biogas at the point of production (on-site) is more efficient and more economical.  

Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cell (“SOEC”) - Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cells are electrochemical cells with the same cell and stack structure as Solid Oxide Fuel Cells, but are operated in reverse – instead of producing power from fuel and oxygen, SOEC cells produce hydrogen and oxygen from steam when supplied with power. 

Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (“SOFC”) - Solid Oxide Fuel Cells are electrochemical cells with a non-porous ceramic material as the electrolyte. SOFCs operate at high temperatures (slightly higher than carbonate fuel cells) eliminating the need for costly precious-metal catalysts, thereby reducing cost. Like carbonate fuel cells, the high operating temperature enables internal reforming of the hydrogen rich fuel source. The Solid Oxide Fuel Cell platform can be operated in fuel cell mode (producing power from fuel) or electrolysis mode (producing hydrogen from power) and can alternate between the two.

Sulfur Oxide (“SOx”) - Sulfur oxide refers to any one of the following: sulfur monoxide, sulfur dioxide (“SO2”) and sulfur trioxide. SO2 is a byproduct of various industrial processes. Coal and petroleum contain sulfur compounds, and generate SO2 when burned.  SOx compounds are particulate and acid rain precursors.

 

Overview

FuelCell Energy, based in Connecticut, was founded in 1969 as a New York corporation to provide applied research and development services on a contract basis. We completed our initial public offering in 1992 and reincorporated in Delaware in 1999.  We began selling stationary fuel cell power plants commercially in 2003.

With more than 9.5 million megawatt hours of clean electricity produced, FuelCell Energy is now a global leader in delivering environmentally-responsible distributed baseload power solutions through our proprietary, molten-carbonate fuel cell technology. Today, we develop turn-key distributed power generation solutions and operate and provide comprehensive service for the life of the power plant. We are working to expand the proprietary technologies that we have developed over the past five decades into new products, markets and geographies.

Fiscal year 2019 was one of transformation for FuelCell Energy. We restructured our management team and our operations in ways that are intended to support our growth and achieve our profitability and sustainability goals. We raised capital under our at-the-market sales plan, which allowed us to pay down our accounts payable and stay current on our forbearance agreements.  We repaid a substantial portion of our short-term debt, retired our Series C and Series D Convertible Preferred Stock obligations, and refocused on our core competencies in an effort to drive top-line revenue. We believe we have emerged from a difficult fiscal 2019 as a stronger company, better positioned to execute on our business plan. Our recent achievements, accomplished during one of the most stressful times in the Company’s history, include: (a) closing on a new $200 million credit facility with Orion Energy Partners Investment Agent, LLC and certain of its affiliated lenders (“Orion Energy Partners”), (b) executing a new Joint Development Agreement with ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company (“EMRE”), with anticipated revenues of up to $60 million, (c)

7


 

restructuring our business to realize annualized operating savings of approximately $15 million, (d) making progress in constructing certain projects in our backlog, including the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative (“CMEEC”) project at the U.S. Navy base in Groton, Connecticut and the commissioning and startup of the 2.8 MW Tulare BioMAT project in California, (e) relaunching our sub-megawatt product in Europe, (f) executing a strategic relationship with E.On Business Solutions, an affiliate of one of the largest utilities in the world, to market and distribute our products beyond the two FuelCell operating plants E.On already owns, (g) extending the maturity of the Class A Cumulative Redeemable Exchangeable Preferred Shares issued by FCE FuelCell Energy Ltd. (the “Series 1 Preferred Shares”) by one year, and (h) concluding our engagement with Huron Consulting Services, LLC (“Huron Consulting”) after successful restructuring and payoff of our prior senior secured credit facility.

We will use this new focus coming out of our restructuring to advance our core goals of:

 

Executing on our backlog and new project awards;

 

Growing our generation portfolio;

 

Competing for and winning new business around the world; and

 

Developing and commercializing our Advanced Technologies platform of products.

 

In order to achieve our core goals, we will focus in 2020 on implementing our new “Powerhouse” business strategy to strengthen our business, maximize operational efficiencies and position us for future growth. The “Powerhouse” business strategy is focused on three fundamental pillars – Transform, Strengthen, Grow – which are described in further detail below.

 

Transform

 

We spent the latter half of fiscal 2019 working on and achieving the following:

 

Restructured our management team: We appointed a new President, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Commercial Officer, Jason Few, to lead our organization, and promoted Michael Lisowski to the positions of Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer and Anthony Leo to the positions of Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. Together with our Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Michael Bishop, and our Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Chief Administrative Officer and Corporate Secretary, Jennifer Arasimowicz, we believe that this executive management team is well positioned to execute on our new “Powerhouse” business strategy.    

 

Secured funding:  Closed on a $200 million senior secured credit facility with Orion Energy Partners to support execution of our current projects and provide balance sheet strength and liquidity.

 

Restructured organization:  Concluded our engagement with Huron Consulting after successful restructuring and payoff of our prior senior secured credit facility.

 

Delivered cost savings:  Realized annualized operating savings of approximately $15 million through the restructuring of our business.

 

Refinanced debt:  Repaid a substantial portion of our short-term debt with funds from a combination of sales of our common stock under our at-the-market sales plan and our long-term credit facility with Orion Energy Partners.

 

Strengthen

 

Capital deployment:  Continue to focus on disciplined capital deployment and obtaining lower-cost, long-term financing for completed generation projects.

 

Commercial excellence:  Strengthen customer relationships and build a customer-centric reputation.

 

Operational excellence:  Implement a rigorous approach to executing and delivering our backlog on-time and on-budget.

 

Cost reductions:  Focus on continued lean resource management and cost reduction opportunities.

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Focused Execution: Continue to develop and define a clear strategic roadmap for the Company.

Grow

 

Sales growth:  Increase product sales to key strategic customers, and grow service revenue through pricing strategy, reducing the cost of ownership for our customers and enhancing service solutions, including long duration energy storage.

 

Innovation:  Increase length of product life and product reliability, and expand commercialization of new technologies such as carbon capture, hydrogen, biofuels, and solid oxide systems.

 

Segment leadership: Capitalize on our expertise in the key addressable markets of biofuels, microgrid development, and hydrogen economy expansion for industry, transportation and electric power generation.

 

Geographic and market expansion: Continue to develop new clean and renewable energy partnerships to advance carbon capture, hydrogen and multi-fuel/biofuel technology, and pursue growth in global markets.

Our mission and purpose remains to utilize our proprietary, state-of-the-art fuel cell power plants to reduce the global environmental footprint of baseload power generation by providing environmentally responsible solutions for reliable electrical power, hot water, steam, chilling, hydrogen, microgrid applications, and carbon capture and, in so doing, drive demand for our products and services, thus realizing positive stockholder returns.

Our fuel cell solution is a clean, efficient alternative to traditional combustion-based power generation and is complementary to an energy mix consisting of intermittent sources of energy, such as solar and wind turbines.  Our systems answer the needs of diverse customers across several markets, including utility companies, municipalities, universities, hospitals, government entities and a variety of industrial and commercial enterprises.  We provide solutions for various applications, including utility-scale distributed generation, on-site power generation and combined heat and power, with the differentiating ability to do so utilizing multiple sources of fuel including natural gas, Renewable Biogas (i.e., landfill gas, anaerobic digester gas), propane and various blends of such fuels. Our multi-fuel source capability is significantly enhanced by our proprietary gas-clean-up skid.

Products

Our core fuel cell products offer clean, highly efficient and affordable power generation for customers, including the sub-megawatt SureSource 250 TM and SureSource 400 TM in Europe, and the 1.4 MW SureSource 1500TM, the 2.8 MW SureSource 3000TM, and the 3.7 MW SureSource 4000TM globally.  The plants are scalable for multi-megawatt utility applications, microgrid applications, distributed hydrogen, or on-site CHP generation for a broad range of applications.  

The global SureSource product line is uniformly based on the same carbonate fuel cell technology.  Using a standard design globally enables supply chain volume-based cost reduction, optimal resource utilization and long-life product enhancements.  Our power plants utilize a variety of available fuels to produce electricity electrochemically, in a process that is highly efficient, quiet, and produces virtually none of the particulate pollutants associated with traditional combustion-based power generation solutions. In addition to electricity, our standard fuel cell configuration produces high quality thermal energy (approximately 700° F), suitable for heating facilities or water, or steam for industrial processes or for absorption cooling.  When configured for CHP, our system efficiencies can potentially reach up to 90%, depending on the application.  When configured for distributed hydrogen our plants produce hydrogen in addition to power, with an effective efficiency (counting the fuel that would have been used to produce hydrogen conventionally) of up to 80% before considering waste heat utilization, which can raise the total efficiency even higher.

Our proprietary carbonate fuel cell technology generates electricity directly from a fuel, such as natural gas or Renewable Biogas, by reforming the fuel inside the fuel cell to produce hydrogen. This internal, proprietary “one-step” reforming process results in a simpler, more efficient, and cost-effective energy conversion system compared with external reforming fuel cells.  Additionally, natural gas has an established infrastructure and is readily available in our existing and target markets compared to some types of fuel cells that can only operate on high purity hydrogen, and Biogas is rapidly growing in production around the world. Our products are fuel flexible, and mainly utilize clean natural gas and Renewable Biogas generated by the customer on-site or directed Biogas generated at a distant location and transported via the existing common carrier gas pipeline networks. The unique chemistry of our Carbonate Fuel Cells allows them to directly use low Btu on-site Biogas with no reduction in output or efficiency compared to

9


 

operation on natural gas.  We have developed proprietary Biogas cleanup and contaminant monitoring equipment which, combined with the inherent suitability of the Carbonate Fuel Cell chemistry, gives us an advantage in on-site Biogas applications.  Our SureSource 1500 and SureSource 3000 power plants are the only systems certified to California Air Resource Board (“CARB”) emissions standards under the Distributed Generation Certification Program for operation with on-site Biogas. In addition, we have demonstrated operation of our carbonate fuel cell technology with other fuel sources including coal syngas and propane.

Our fuel cells operate at approximately 1,100° F. A key advantage of high temperature fuel cells is that they do not require the use of precious metal electrodes required by lower temperature fuel cells, such as proton-exchange membrane (“PEM”) fuel cells.  As a result, we are able to use less expensive and readily available industrial metals, primarily nickel and stainless steel, as catalysts for our fuel cell components. Another key advantage of our fuel cell design is that they are easily sited with a relatively small footprint given the amount of power produced. There is minimal noise produced by the mechanical balance of plant (“BOP”) and a clean emissions profile, making our fuel cells ideally suited for urban and in building suburban applications at or near the point of energy consumption.

We market different configurations and applications of our SureSource plants to meet specific market needs, including:

 

On-Site Power (Behind the Meter):  Customers benefit from improved power reliability and energy security from on-site power that reduces reliance on the electric grid in an environmentally responsible manner.  Utilization of the high quality thermal energy produced by the fuel cell in a CHP configuration supports economic and sustainability goals by lessening or even avoiding the need for combustion-based boilers for heat and its associated cost, pollutants and carbon emissions.  Heat can be used to produce hot water or steam or to drive high efficiency absorption chillers for cooling applications.

 

Utility Grid Support: Our SureSource power plants are scalable, which enables siting multiple fuel cell power plants together in a fuel cell park.  Fuel cell parks enable utilities to add clean and continuous multi-megawatt power generation on a very small footprint when and where needed and enhance the resiliency of the electric grid by reducing reliance on large central generation plants and the associated transmission system. Consolidating certain equipment for multiple plants, such as fuel processing, reduces the cost per megawatt hour for fuel cell parks compared to individual fuel cell power plants.  Deploying our SureSource power plants throughout a utility service territory can also help utilities comply with government-mandated clean energy regulations, meet air quality standards, maintain continuous power output and improve grid reliability.  Our fuel cells can  firm-up the total utility power generation solution when combined with intermittent power generation, such as solar or wind, or less efficient combustion-based equipment that provides peaking or load following power.

 

Higher Electrical Efficiency - Multi-Megawatt Applications:  The SureSource 4000 is designed to extract more electrical power from each unit of fuel with electrical efficiency of approximately 60% and targets applications with large load requirements and limited thermal utilization such as utility/grid support or data centers.  

 

Microgrid Applications: SureSource plants can also be configured as a microgrid, either independently or with other forms of power generation, to provide continuous power and a seamless transition during times of grid outages.  We have multiple installations serving as examples of our solutions operating within microgrids, some individually and some with other forms of power generation.

In summary, our solutions offer many advantages:

 

Distributed generation: Generating power near or at the point of use improves power reliability and energy security and lessens the need for costly and difficult-to-site generation and long distance high voltage and distributed transmission infrastructure susceptible to disruption, thus enhancing the resiliency of the grid.

 

Clean: Our SureSource solutions produce electricity electrochemically − without combustion − directly from readily available fuels such as natural gas and Renewable Biogas in a highly efficient process,

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delivering clean baseload energy. The virtual absence of pollutants facilitates siting the power plants in regions with clean air permitting regulations and is an important public health benefit.

 

Highly efficient: Fuel cells are the most efficient power generation option in their size class, providing the most power from a given unit of fuel, reducing fuel costs. This high electrical efficiency also reduces carbon emissions compared to less efficient combustion-based power generation.

 

Combined heat and power: Our power plants provide both electricity and usable high quality heat/steam from the same unit of fuel.  The heat can be used for facility heating and cooling or further enhancing the electrical efficiency of the power plant in a combined cycle configuration. When configured for CHP, our system efficiencies can potentially reach up to 90%, depending on the application.

 

Reliability / continuous operation: Our SureSource power plants improve power reliability and energy security by lessening reliance on the transmission and distribution infrastructure of the electric grid. Unlike solar and wind power, fuel cells are able to operate continuously regardless of weather, time of day, or geographic location.

 

Fuel flexibility: Our SureSource power plants can operate on a variety of existing and readily available fuels, including natural gas, on-site Renewable Biogas, directed Biogas, flare gas and propane.

 

Scalability: Our solutions are scalable, providing a cost-effective solution to adding power incrementally as demand grows, such as multi-megawatt fuel cell parks supporting the electric grid and large scale commercial and industrial operations.

 

Quiet operation: Our SureSource solutions operate quietly and without vibrations because they produce power without combustion and contain very few moving parts, which also enhances reliability.

 

Easy to site: Our SureSource power plants are relatively easy to site by virtue of their ultra-clean emissions profile, modest space requirements and quiet operation.  These characteristics facilitate the installation of the power plants in urban locations with scarce and expensive land.  A 10 MW fuel cell park only requires about one acre of land whereas an equivalent size solar array requires up to seven-to-ten times as much land, illustrating how fuel cell parks have a much lower environmental impact on land use, and are easy to site in high density areas with constrained land resources and adjacent to the demand source, thereby avoiding costly transmission construction.

 

Advanced Technologies Programs

Our Advanced Technologies programs, including our carbon capture, local hydrogen production and solid oxide fuel cells and electrolysis for energy storage represent future market, product and revenue opportunities for the Company beyond our current product line. We undertake both privately-funded and public research and development to develop these opportunities, reduce costs, and expand our technology portfolio.

Our multi-featured power plant platforms can be configured to provide a number of value streams, including clean electricity, high quality usable heat, and hydrogen suitable for vehicle fueling, industrial purposes or power generation, and to concentrate CO2 from coal, biomass and natural gas fired power plants and industrial applications.  

We have historically worked on technology development with various U.S. government departments and agencies, including the Department of Energy (“DOE”), the Department of Defense (“DOD”), the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (“DARPA”), the Office of Naval Research (“ONR”), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (“NASA”). Government funding, principally from the DOE, provided 6%, 8% and 9% of our revenue for the fiscal years ended October 31, 2019, 2018, and 2017, respectively.

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Our Advanced Technologies programs are currently focused on commercializing solutions within three strategic areas:

 

1)

Carbon capture for emissions reduction in traditional fossil fuel fired generation and industrial applications combined with power generation;

 

2)

Distributed hydrogen production, compression, and recovery; and

 

3)

SOFC/SOEC for stationary power generation, electrolysis and long duration energy storage.

Carbon Capture – Power generation and industrial applications are the source of two-thirds of the world’s carbon emissions. Coal and natural gas are abundant, low-cost resources that are widely used to generate electricity in developed and developing countries, but burning these fuels, as well as burning biomass, results in the emission of criteria pollutants and CO2. Cost effective and efficient carbon capture from power generation and industrial applications globally represents a large market because it could enable clean use of all available fuels. The SureSource CaptureTM system separates and concentrates CO2 from the flue gases of natural gas, biomass or coal-fired power plants or industrial facilities as a side reaction that extracts and purifies the CO2 in the flue gas during the power generation process and destroys approximately 70% of NOx emissions. The production of additional power during the capture process, as opposed to consuming power, differentiates the SureSource Capture system from all other forms of carbon capture. This could make the SureSource Capture system more cost effective than other systems which are being considered for carbon capture. SureSource Capture systems can be implemented in increments, managing capital outlay to match decarbonization objectives and regulatory requirements.  Since our solution generates a return on capital resulting from the fuel cell's production of electricity rather than an increase in operating expense required by other carbon capture technologies, it can extend the life of existing power plants. We have a joint development agreement with EMRE to develop and commercialize this application of our core technology. See additional discussion concerning our relationship with EMRE under the section below entitled “License Agreements and Royalty Income”. We are also working on a carbon capture project with Drax Power Station, the largest single-site renewable power generator in the United Kingdom.

Distributed Hydrogen Production, Compression, and Recovery - On-site or distributed hydrogen generation, produced cleanly, represents an attractive and expansive market.  Our high temperature fuel cells generate electricity directly from a fuel by reforming the fuel inside the fuel cell to supply hydrogen for the electrical generation process.  We have developed a process by which gas separation technology can be added to our core fuel cell to capture hydrogen that is not used by the electrical generation process, and we refer to this configuration as SureSource Hydrogen. The SureSource Hydrogen product has the potential to be a compelling solution for industrial users of hydrogen and in transportation fueling applications. The 2.3 MW SureSource Hydrogen plant has a hydrogen output of approximately 1,200 kg per day, in addition to the electricity, thermal energy and water generated by the fuel cell. Hydrogen is typically made from natural gas in large central steam methane reforming (“SMR”) plants. The conventional reforming process involves burning fossil fuel to produce steam and to heat a fuel/steam mixture to a high temperature, which is then passed over a catalyst that converts the methane/water mixture to carbon dioxide and hydrogen.  The need to burn fossil fuel to provide thermal energy produces additional carbon dioxide criteria pollutant emissions, and SMRs are significant water consumers.  A similar, but environmentally sustainable, process happens in SureSource internal reforming: methane (from natural gas or Biogas) reacts with water to produce hydrogen, but, in the internal reforming process, the water and the heat are byproducts of the fuel cell reaction.  There is no need to burn fuel to supply heat, and there is no need to supply water.  In fact, a SureSource Hydrogen plant is a net water producer, not a water consumer.  When operated on Biogas, SureSource Hydrogen systems produce renewable hydrogen, but, even when fueled with natural gas, they produce hydrogen with a lower carbon impact than conventional SMR because of the use of internal heat instead of burning fuel.

SOFC/SOEC and Energy Storage – We are developing a solution for long duration energy storage using our proprietary solid oxide technology.  Our solid oxide stacks are capable of alternating between electrolysis and power generation mode.  Instead of producing power from fuel and air, a solid oxide fuel cell stack in electrolysis mode splits water into hydrogen and oxygen using supplied electricity.  A storage system based on SOFC/SOEC technology will start with stored water, which will be converted to hydrogen during charging by electrolysis in the solid oxide stacks.  The hydrogen is stored as compressed gas in cylinders or underground, creating the ability to produce a virtually limitless supply.  When discharge power is needed, the stored hydrogen is sent back to the solid oxide stacks, which react it with air to produce power and to regenerate the water, which is stored for the next cycle.

The key aspect of this approach is that the reactant (water) is inexpensive and plentiful.  Long duration storage can be achieved by adding water and hydrogen storage capacity, without the need to add excessive amounts of conventional battery reactants (e.g. Lithium, Cobalt, etc.), which have supply constraints for broad adoption and which present disposal challenges.  Long duration energy storage is going to be required at large scale during time periods ranging from hourly to seasonal in order to manage high penetration of intermittent renewable resources, and this

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water/hydrogen based approach of our SOFC/SOEC technology has the potential to be the key enabler of long duration storage.

SOFC power plant design and manufacturing is complementary to our carbonate-based megawatt-scale product line and affords us the opportunity to leverage our field operating history, our existing expertise in power plant design, fuel processing and high volume manufacturing capabilities, and our existing installation and service infrastructure.  Additionally, the target market for storage applications is electric utilities, which is a market in which we are already active.  

We perform SOFC/SOEC research and development at our Danbury, Connecticut headquarters, as well as at our dedicated SOFC/SOEC facility in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  We are working under a variety of awards from the DOE for development and commercialization of both SOFC and SOEC, and, during fiscal year 2019, we advanced our solid oxide power generation, electrolysis and energy storage applications by executing on our existing DOE contracts.  Our solid oxide development activities are focused on three applications:  power generation, electrolysis, and energy storage (which is a combination of the first two).  During fiscal year 2019, we conducted our first prototype field test of a 250kW natural gas fueled SOFC power plant at the Clearway Energy Center in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  We are currently fabricating an advanced electrolysis system for testing in our Danbury, Connecticut headquarters, and we were recently awarded funding from the DOE to convert the electrolysis system to a reversible storage facility after the electrolysis testing is complete in late 2020.  We believe that energy storage based on reversible solid oxide stacks can be a game changer for long duration energy storage.  

We believe there are significant market opportunities for distributed hydrogen production, carbon capture, solid oxide fuel cell solutions and energy storage that represent potential future revenue opportunities for the Company. The projects described above allow us to leverage third-party resources and funding to accelerate the commercialization and realize the market potential of each of these solutions and virtually eliminate the need to rely on and use rare earth minerals.

SureSource Emissions Profile

Fuel cells are non-combustion devices that directly convert chemical energy (fuel) into electricity, heat and water.  Because fuel cells generate power electrochemically rather than by combusting (burning) fuels, they are more efficient in extracting energy from fuels and produce less CO2 and only trace levels of pollutants compared to combustion-type power generation or traditional power sources used to firm-up intermittent power sources, such as wind and solar.  The following table illustrates the favorable emission profile of our SureSource power plants:

 

 

 

Emissions (Lbs. Per MWh)

 

 

NOX

 

 

SO2

 

 

PM

 

 

CO2

 

 

CO2

with CHP

Average U.S. Fossil Fuel Plant (1)

 

 

0.48

 

 

 

2.6

 

 

 

0.08

 

 

 

1,533

 

 

NA

Microturbine (60kW) (2)

 

 

0.44

 

 

 

0.008

 

 

 

0.09

 

 

 

1,596

 

 

520 - 680

Small Natural Gas Turbine (3)

 

 

1.15

 

 

 

0.008

 

 

 

0.08

 

 

 

1,494

 

 

520 - 680

SureSource - natural gas (4)

 

 

0.01

 

 

 

0.0001

 

 

 

0.00002

 

 

 

940

 

 

520 - 680

SureSource 4000 High Efficiency Plant

 

 

0.01

 

 

 

0.0001

 

 

 

0.00002

 

 

 

740

 

 

520 - 680

SureSource - utility scale carbon capture

 

 

0.01

 

 

 

0.0001

 

 

 

0.00002

 

 

 

80

 

 

n/a

SureSource  - renewable biogas

 

 

0.01

 

 

 

0.0001

 

 

 

0.00002

 

 

< 0

 

 

< 0

 

The high efficiency of our products results in significantly less CO2 per unit of power production compared to the average U.S. fossil fuel power plant, and the carbon emissions are reduced even further when configured for CHP applications or biofuels.  When our power plants are operating on Renewable Biogas, government agencies and regulatory bodies generally classify them as carbon neutral due to the renewable nature of the fuel source. The low CO2 emissions and low criteria pollutants from SureSource power plants have a significant impact on sustainability and air quality because they avoid emissions 24 hours a day.  The high capacity factor of baseload SureSource systems maximizes the impact of their environmental benefits.  The following table shows how the low emissions combined with high capacity factor result in emissions avoidance comparable to or better than intermittent renewable power sources.  While wind and solar renewable power sources may completely avoid these emissions while operating, given their low capacity factors, they avoid fewer emissions than fuel cells only because they operate for fewer hours per day. When wind and solar renewable power sources are not operating, higher emission resources are required to operate, thus diluting the benefits. Additionally, all renewable power sources have life cycle emissions associated with manufacture and disposal.

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Capacity

 

 

Emissions, lb/MWh

 

 

Avoided Emissions, Tons/y per MW

 

 

 

Factor, %

 

 

NOX

 

 

PM10

 

 

CO2

 

 

NOX

 

 

PM10

 

 

CO2

 

Average US Grid (5)

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.10

 

 

0.05

 

 

1501

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SureSource 3000 with CHP (6)

 

 

90

%

 

0.01

 

 

 

0.00

 

 

738

 

 

4.3

 

 

0.19

 

 

 

3,008

 

SureSource 4000

 

 

90

%

 

0.01

 

 

 

0.00

 

 

778

 

 

4.3

 

 

0.19

 

 

 

2,848

 

SureSource Biogas fuel

 

 

90

%

 

0.01

 

 

 

0.00

 

 

0

 

 

4.3

 

 

0.19

 

 

 

5,917

 

Rooftop Solar (7)

 

 

23

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.1

 

 

0.05

 

 

 

1,479

 

Utility Scale Solar PV (7)

 

 

29

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.4

 

 

0.06

 

 

 

1,874

 

Wind (7)

 

 

47

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.2

 

 

 

0.10

 

 

 

3,057

 

 

(1)

Updated Greenhouse Gas and Criteria Air Pollutant Emission Factors of the US Electric Generating Units in 2010; Argon National Laboratory September 2013.

(2)

The Regulatory Assistance Project, "Model Regulations for the Output of Specified Air Emissions from Smaller Scale Electric Generation Resources."

(3)

The Regulatory Assistance Project, "Model Regulations for the Output of Specified Air Emissions from Smaller Scale Electric Generation Resources."

(4)

SureSource estimates based on Company specifications.

(5)

Grid emissions rates for NOX and CO2. From EPA eGrid 2016, US Average non-baseload rates. Grid emissions rate for PM10 from ANL report "Updated Greenhouse Gas and Criteria Air Pollutant Emission Factors of the US Electric Generating Units in 2010", 2019 Projection.

(6)

SureSource estimates based on Company specifications.

(7)

Solar and Wind capacity factors are average of range from Lazard LCOE Analysis version 12, November 2018.

 

Business Strategy

Our business model is based on multiple revenue streams, including power plant and component sales; recurring service revenue, mainly through long-term service agreements; recurring electricity, capacity and renewable attribute sales under PPAs and tariffs for projects we retain in our generation portfolio; and revenue from public and private industry research contracts under Advanced Technologies.

We are a complete solutions provider, controlling the design, manufacturing, sales, installation, operations and maintenance of our patented fuel cell technology under long-term power purchase and service agreements. When principally utilizing long-term PPAs, the end-user of the power or utility hosts the installation and only pays for power as it is delivered, avoiding up-front capital investment. We also develop projects and sell equipment directly to customers, providing a complete solution of engineering, installing and servicing the fuel cell power plant under an engineering, procurement and construction (“EPC”) agreement and a long-term maintenance and service agreement.  In all cases, FuelCell Energy maintains the long-term recurring service obligation and associated revenues running conterminous with the life of the project.

We target large-scale power users with our megawatt-class installations globally, and currently offer sub-megawatt solutions for smaller power consumers in Europe.  To provide a frame of reference, one megawatt is adequate to continually power approximately 1,000 average sized U.S. homes.  Our customer base includes utility companies, municipalities, universities, hospitals, government entities and a variety of industrial and commercial enterprises. Our leading geographic market is currently the United States, and we are pursuing opportunities in other countries around the world.

Our power plants provide electricity priced competitively to grid-delivered electricity in certain regions, and our strategy is to continue to reduce costs, which we believe will lead to wider adoption. Our business model involves full life-cycle management of our projects and fuel cell solutions, from design through operation and maintenance, including removal and recycling. By weight, approximately 93% of the entire power plant can be re-used or recycled at the end of its useful life.

Our extensive intellectual property portfolio consists of patents, trade secrets and collective experience, which acts as a foundation for expanding and maximizing our solutions portfolio.  


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Market Adoption

We target vertical markets and geographic regions that:

 

1)

Benefit from and value clean distributed generation;

 

2)

Are located where there are high energy costs, poor grid reliability, and/or challenged transmission distribution lines;

 

3)

Have a need for distributed hydrogen for transportation or industry; and

 

4)

Are aligned with regulatory frameworks that harmonize energy, economic and environmental policies.

Our business model focuses on providing these vertical markets and geographic regions with highly efficient and affordable distributed generation that delivers de-centralized power in a low-carbon, virtually pollutant-free manner. Geographic markets that meet these criteria and where we are already well established include the Northeastern United States and California.  We have also installed and are operating plants in Europe and Asia, mainly South Korea, in addition to North America.

The Company has made significant progress with reducing costs and creating markets since the commercialization of our products in 2003, with more than 255 MW of our SureSource technology currently installed and operating. We believe that we can accelerate and expand the adoption of our distributed power generation solutions through (1) further reductions in the total cost of ownership, (2) continued education regarding the value that our solutions provide, (3) geographic and segment expansion, (4) growing demand for onsite generation, (5) microgrid expansion, and (6) product expansion across biofuels, carbon capture and local hydrogen.  

Fuel Cell Power Plant Ownership Structures

Historically, in the United States, customers or developers typically purchased our fuel cell power plants outright.  As the size of our fuel cell projects has grown and the availability of project capital has improved, project structures in the U.S. have transitioned to predominantly PPAs.  Under a PPA, the utility or end-user of the power commits to purchase power as it is produced for an extended period of time, typically 10-to-20 years.  Examples of customers that have previously entered into PPAs include universities, a pharmaceutical company, hospitals and utilities.  A primary advantage for the customer is that it does not need to commit its own capital or own a power generating asset, yet it enjoys the benefits of fuel cell power generation.

Once the PPA is executed and project financing is committed, construction of the fuel cell project can begin.  At or around the Commercial Operation Date, the project may be sold to a project investor or retained by the Company.  If the project is sold, revenue from the product sale is recognized, and the Company recognizes revenue separately for the long-term maintenance and service agreement over the term of that agreement.  If the project is retained, electricity, capacity and/or renewable energy credits are recognized monthly over the term of the PPA. We report the financial performance of retained projects as generation revenue and income.

Our decision to retain certain projects is based in part on the recurring, predictable cash flows these projects can offer us, the proliferation of PPAs in the industry and the potential access to capital.  Retaining PPAs affords the Company the full benefit of future cash flows under the PPAs, which are higher than if we sell the projects, although it requires more upfront capital investment and financing.  As of October 31, 2019, our operating portfolio of retained projects totaled 26.1 MW with an additional 79.5 MW under development or construction.  The Company plans to continue to grow this portfolio in a balanced manner, while also selling projects to investors when selling presents the best value and opportunity for the Company’s capital or meets the customer’s desired ownership structure.

 

Levelized Cost of Energy

Our fuel cell projects deliver power at a rate comparable to pricing from the grid in our targeted markets.  Policy programs that help to support adoption of clean distributed power generation often lead to below-grid pricing.  We measure power costs by calculating the Levelized Cost of Energy (“LCOE”) over the life of the project.  

15


 

There are several primary elements to LCOE for our fuel cell projects, including:

 

1)

Capital cost;

 

2)

Operations and maintenance cost; and

 

3)

Fuel expense.

Given the level of integration in our business model of manufacturing, installing and operating fuel cell power plants, there are multiple areas and opportunities for cost reductions. We are actively managing and reducing costs in all three LCOE areas as follows:

 

Capital Cost - Capital costs of our projects include costs to source material, manufacture, install, interconnect, finance and complete any on-site application requirements such as configuring for a microgrid and/or heating and cooling applications.  We have reduced the product cost of our megawatt-class power plants by more than 60% from the first commercial installation in 2003. Further cost reductions will primarily be obtained from higher production volumes and engineering efficiency, which are expected to lead to reductions in the per-unit cost of materials purchased, supported by continued engineering, supply chain and manufacturing cost reductions.  Our supply chain organization is actively engaged in strategic initiatives with suppliers to optimize production efficiencies and reduce waste while increasing quality and platform uptime, and lowering overall product/platform costs. Strategic sourcing initiatives are established to ensure adequate production capacity is qualified in advance of production volume scale up. Our industrial engineering, manufacturing and quality operations continue to embrace Lean Six Sigma principles throughout, focusing on continuous improvement, elimination of waste and increases in yields and quality while reducing cost. Larger projects offer scale and the opportunity to consolidate systems and reduce costs. In addition to these cost reduction efforts, our technology roadmap includes plans to increase the output of our power plants, which will add further value for our customers and reduce LCOE. We are always working to obtain the lowest cost financing for our generation projects.

 

Operations and Maintenance Cost – Through secure connections, we remotely monitor, operate, and maintain our fuel cell power plants to optimize performance and meet or exceed expected operating parameters throughout the operational lives of the plants. Operations and maintenance (“O&M”) is a key driver for power plants to deliver on projected electrical output and revenue.  Each model of our SureSource power plants has a design life of 25 to 30 years. The fuel cell modules, currently manufactured with a 7-year cell design life, go through periodic replacement, while the BOP systems, which consist of conventional mechanical and electrical equipment, are maintained over the plant life. The price for planned periodic fuel cell stack replacements is included in our long-term service agreements or in the per kWh price of the PPA. We expect to continually drive down the cost of O&M with an expanding fleet, which will leverage our investments in this area.  Additionally, we are continuing to develop fuel cells that have longer useful lives, which is intended to reduce O&M costs by increasing our scheduled module replacement period to in excess of seven years.

 

Fuel Expense - Our fuel cells directly convert chemical energy (fuel) into electricity, heat, water, and, in certain configurations, other value streams such as high purity hydrogen.  Our power plants can operate on a variety of existing and readily available fuels, including natural gas, Renewable Biogas, directed Biogas and propane.  Our SureSource power plants deliver electrical efficiencies of 47% for systems targeting CHP applications and 60% for systems targeting electric-only applications, such as grid support and data centers.  In a CHP configuration, our plants can deliver even higher system efficiency, depending on the application.  Considering utilized waste heat in CHP applications, total efficiency of systems using our power plants is typically 60% to 80% and can be as high as 90%.  These efficiencies compare to average U.S. fossil fuel plant generation efficiency of about 40% with grid line losses.  Increasing electrical efficiency and reducing fuel costs is a key element of our operating cost reduction efforts and a competitive advantage against traditional combustion-based technologies.

An important and differentiating factor that benefits fuel cells when comparing LCOE to other forms of power generation is that our solutions provide delivered electricity that minimizes or even avoids the costs of high voltage and distributed transmission. Energy can be produced right at the point of use. When comparing LCOE across different forms of power generation, transmission should be considered.  Power generation far from where the power is used requires transmission, which is a cost to ratepayers, creates risk of system outages, increases cyber attack risk, and is inefficient due to line losses of power in the transmission process. Recent events, including hurricanes along the Gulf

16


 

coast and Puerto Rico, wildfires in California, and significant snow and ice storms in the Northeastern U.S., prove that transmission systems are more vulnerable to storm-related and other interruptions than locally-generated energy.  

Recently, California was affected by the utility policy of Public Safety Power Shutoffs (“PSPS”), a preemptive effort by the utility companies to prevent wildfires from being started by electrical equipment during strong and dry wind conditions. Two plants manufactured and operated by FuelCell Energy remained operational as part of their respective microgrids in areas impacted by PSPS and provided steady, reliable power to the University of California, San Diego and the Santa Rita Jail during a time when over 3 million people were generally affected by PSPS.

Producing power near the point of use also facilitates the development of CHP applications, since it is easier to find a user for fuel cell waste heat in distributed applications.  Using waste heat to avoid burning fuel for thermal applications reduces LCOE (by avoiding fuel cost) and avoids additional carbon emissions and criteria pollutants.

 

Markets

Vertical Markets

Access to clean, affordable and reliable power has transformed how most of the world lives today. The ability to provide power cleanly and efficiently is taking on greater importance and urgency in many regions of the world. FuelCell Energy’s products and services are specifically designed to deliver such clean, efficient power globally.  

Central generation and its associated transmission requirements and distribution grid are difficult to site, costly, prone to interruption and generally take many years to permit and build.  Some types of power generation that were widely adopted in the past, such as nuclear and coal power, are no longer welcome in certain regions of the world.  The cost and impact to public health and the environment of pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions impact the siting of new power generation.  The attributes of SureSource power plants address these challenges by providing virtually particulate-free baseload power and, where desired, thermal energy at the point of use in a highly-efficient process that is affordable to consumers.

We target distinct markets, including:

 

Utilities and independent power producers;

 

Industrial and process applications;

 

Education and health care;

 

Data centers and communication;

 

Wastewater treatment;

 

Government;

 

Commercial and hospitality; and

 

Microgrids.

The utilities and independent power producers market is our largest vertical market with customers that include utilities on the East and West coasts of the United States, such as Avangrid Holdings, Long Island Power & Light, Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric. In Europe, utility customers include E.ON Connecting Energies, one of the largest utilities in the world, and Switzerland-based ewz.  In South Korea, we are contracted to operate and maintain a 20 MW plant for Korea Southern Power Company (“KOSPO”).

Our SureSource power plants are producing power for a variety of industrial, commercial, municipal and government customers, including manufacturing facilities, pharmaceutical processing facilities, universities, healthcare facilities and wastewater treatment facilities.  These institutions desire efficient, clean and continuous power to reduce operating expenses, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and avoid pollutant emissions to meet their sustainability goals, while boosting resiliency and limiting dependence on the distribution grid.  CHP applications further support economic and sustainability initiatives by minimizing or avoiding the use of combustion-based boilers for heat.  Our SureSource power plants are unique in their ability to run on biofuels. With the growing market for anaerobic digestion (the production of Biogas from the breakdown of biodegradable materials in the absence of oxygen) and increasingly stringent regulations regarding air quality, we see a growing market opportunity that is perfectly suited for our fuel

17


 

cell design. SureSource power plants operating on Renewable Biogas are an especially compelling value proposition as they convert a waste product into clean electricity and heat, while eliminating flaring, which addresses certain economic and sustainability challenges faced by our customers. Biogas is generated by the decay of organic material (i.e., biomass). This decaying organic material releases methane, or Biogas. As a harmful greenhouse gas, Biogas cannot be released directly into the atmosphere. Flaring creates pollutants and wastes this potential fuel source. Capturing and using Biogas as a fuel addresses these challenges and provides a carbon-neutral renewable fuel source. Our patented, proprietary clean-up skid, SureSource TreatmentTM, provides an economical and reliable system for treating Biogas for use on-site at the Biogas production facility.

Wastewater treatment facilities, food and beverage processors and agricultural operations produce Biogas as a byproduct of their operations. Disposing of this greenhouse gas can be harmful to the environment if released into the atmosphere or flared. Our SureSource power plants convert this Biogas into electricity and heat efficiently and economically. Wastewater facilities with anaerobic digesters are an attractive market for our SureSource solution including the power plant as well as treatment of the Biogas. Many wastewater treatment plants currently flare Biogas produced in the anaerobic digestion process, emitting NOx, SOx and particulates into the atmosphere, which does not meet many air quality regulations. Since our fuel cells operate on the Renewable Biogas produced by the wastewater treatment process and the heat is used to support daily operations at the wastewater treatment facility, the overall thermal efficiency of these installations is high, supporting economics and sustainability. In addition, the fuel cell does not emit the harmful NOx, SOx and particulates that come out of a flare. On-site Biogas projects are more efficient and more economical than Directed Biogas projects because less gas processing is required compared to the processing needed to get the on-site gas to pipeline quality.  The unique chemistry of carbonate fuel cells allows them to use low Btu on-site Biogas with no reduction in output or efficiency compared to operation on natural gas.  We have developed proprietary Biogas cleanup and contaminant monitoring equipment which, combined with the inherent suitability of the carbonate fuel cell chemistry, gives us an advantage in on-site Biogas applications.  Our SureSource 1500 and SureSource 3000 power plants are the only systems certified to CARB emissions standards under the Distributed Generation Certification Program for operation with on-site Biogas.

Our fuel cell solutions are also well suited for microgrid applications, either as the sole source of power generation or integrated with other forms of power generation.  We have fuel cells operating as microgrids at universities and municipalities, including one university microgrid owned by Clearway Energy and a municipal-based microgrid owned by Avangrid.  For the municipal-based system, under normal operation, the fuel cell supplies power to the grid.  If the grid is disrupted, the fuel cell plant will automatically disconnect from the grid and power a number of critical municipal buildings. Heat from this municipal-based fuel cell plant is used by the local high school. As mentioned above, our fuel cell-based microgrids have continued operating during PSPS events in California.

 

Manufacturing and Service Facilities

We operate a 167,000 square-foot manufacturing facility in Torrington, Connecticut where we produce the individual cell packages and assemble the fuel cell modules. This facility also houses our global service center. Our completed modules are conditioned in Torrington and shipped directly to customer sites.  Annual capacity (module manufacturing, final assembly, testing and conditioning) is 100 MW per year under the Torrington facility’s current configuration when being fully utilized.  The Torrington facility is sized to accommodate eventual annual production capacity of 200 MW per year.

The expansion of the Torrington facility has enabled the consolidation of warehousing and service facilities, which has resulted in reduced leasing expenses.  The additional space is also expected to lead to additional manufacturing efficiencies by providing the needed space to re-configure the manufacturing lines without interrupting production.  As demand supports, a second phase will be undertaken to add manufacturing equipment to increase annual capacity to 200 MW.  

We design and manufacture the core SureSource fuel cell components that are stacked on top of each other to build a fuel cell stack.  For megawatt-scale power plants, four fuel cell stacks are combined to build a fuel cell module.  To complete the power plant, the fuel cell module or modules are combined with the BOP.  The mechanical BOP processes the incoming fuel such as natural gas or Renewable Biogas and includes various fuel handling and processing equipment such as pipes and blowers. The electrical BOP processes the power generated for use by the customer and includes electrical interface equipment such as an inverter.  The BOP components are either purchased directly from suppliers or the manufacturing is outsourced based on our designs and specifications.  This strategy allows us to

18


 

leverage our manufacturing capacity, focusing on the critical aspects of the power plant where we have specialized knowledge and expertise and possess extensive intellectual property.  BOP components are shipped directly to a project site and are then assembled with the fuel cell module into a complete power plant.

The Torrington production and service facility and the Danbury corporate headquarters and research and development facility are ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 certified and our Field Service operation (which maintains the installed fleet of our plants) is ISO 9001:2015 certified, reinforcing the tenets of FuelCell Energy’s quality management system and our core values of continual improvement and commitment to quality, environmental stewardship, and customer satisfaction. Sustainability is promoted throughout our organization. We manufacture SureSource Products and manage them through end-of-life using environmentally friendly business processes and practices, certified to ISO 14001:2015. We continually improve how we plan and execute across the entire product life cycle. We strive for “cradle-to-cradle” sustainable business practices, incorporating sustainability in our corporate culture. We utilize “Design for Environment” principles in the design, manufacture, installation and servicing of our power plants. “Design for Environment” principles aim to reduce the overall human health and environmental impact of a product, process or service, when such impacts are considered across the product’s lifecycle. We maintain a chain of custody and responsibility of our SureSource products throughout the product life cycle. When our plants reach the end of their useful lives, we can refurbish and re-use certain parts and then recycle most of what we cannot re-use. By weight, approximately 93% of the entire power plant can be re-used or recycled at the end of its useful life.

We have a manufacturing and service facility in Taufkirchen, Germany that has the capability to perform final module assembly for up to 20 MW per year of sub-megawatt fuel cell power plants to service the fuel cell power plant demand in the European market. Our European service activities are also operated out of this location. Our operations in Europe are certified under both ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015.

We have a research and development facility in Calgary, Alberta, Canada that is focused on the engineering and development of the Company’s SOFC and SOEC technology.

Raw Materials and Supplier Relationships

We use various commercially available raw materials and components to construct a fuel cell module, including nickel and stainless steel, which are key inputs in our manufacturing process. Our fuel cell stack raw materials are sourced from multiple vendors and are not considered precious metals.  We have a global integrated supply chain.  While we manufacture the fuel cell module in our Torrington facility, the electrical and mechanical BOPs are assembled by and procured from several suppliers. All of our suppliers must undergo a stringent and rigorous qualification process. We continually evaluate and qualify new suppliers as we diversify our supplier base in our pursuit of lower costs and consistent quality. We purchase mechanical and electrical BOP components from third party vendors, based on our own proprietary designs.

Engineering, Procurement and Construction (“EPC”)

We provide customers with complete turn-key solutions, including development, engineering, procurement, construction, interconnection and operations for our fuel cell projects.  From an EPC standpoint, we have an extensive history of safe and timely delivery of turn-key projects.  We have developed relationships with many design firms and licensed general contractors and have a repeatable, safe, and efficient execution philosophy that has been successfully demonstrated in numerous jurisdictions, both domestically and abroad, all with an exemplary safety record.  The ability to rapidly and safely execute installations minimizes high-cost construction period financing and can assist customers in certain situations when the Commercial Operations Date is time sensitive.

 

19


 

Services and Warranty Agreements

We offer a comprehensive portfolio of services, including engineering, project management and installation, and long-term operating and maintenance programs, including trained technicians that remotely monitor and operate our plants around the world, 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.  We directly employ field technicians to service the power plants and maintain service centers near our customers to support the high Availability of our plants.  

For all operating fuel cell plants not under a PPA, customers purchase long-term service agreements, some of which have terms of up to 20 years. Pricing for service contracts is based upon the value of service assurance and the markets in which we compete and includes all future maintenance and fuel cell module exchanges.  Each model of our SureSource power plants has a design life of 25-to-30 years. The fuel cell modules, with legacy modules having a 5-year cell design life and current production modules having a 7-year cell design life, go through periodic replacement, while the BOP systems, which consist of conventional mechanical and electrical equipment, are maintained over the life of the plant.

Under the typical provisions of both our service agreements and PPAs, we provide services to monitor, operate and maintain power plants to meet specified performance levels. Operations and maintenance is a key driver for power plants to deliver their projected revenue and cash flows.  The service aspects of our business model provide a recurring and predictable revenue stream for the Company.  We have committed future production for scheduled fuel cell module exchanges under service agreements and PPAs through the year 2038.  The pricing structure of the service agreements incorporates these scheduled fuel cell module exchanges and the committed nature of this production facilitates our production planning. Many of our PPAs and service agreements include guarantees for system performance, including electrical output and heat rate. Should the power plant not meet the minimum performance levels, we may be required to replace the fuel cell module with a new or used replacement module and/or pay performance penalties.  Our goal is to optimize the power plants to meet expected operating parameters throughout their contracted service term.

In addition to our service agreements, we provide a warranty for our products against manufacturing or performance defects for a specific period of time. The warranty term in the U.S. is typically 15 months after shipment or 12 months after acceptance of our products.  We accrue for estimated future warranty costs based on historical experience.

License Agreements and Royalty Income; Relationship with POSCO Energy

License Agreement with ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company

EMRE and FuelCell Energy began working together in 2016 under an initial Joint Development Agreement with a focus on better understanding the fundamental science behind carbonate fuel cells for use in advanced applications and specifically how to increase efficiency in separating and concentrating carbon dioxide from the exhaust of natural gas-fueled power generation.

In June 2019, we entered into a license agreement with EMRE, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ExxonMobil Corporation, to facilitate the further development of our SureSource CaptureTM product (the “EMRE License Agreement”). Pursuant to the EMRE License Agreement, the Company granted EMRE and its affiliates a non-exclusive, worldwide, fully-paid, perpetual, irrevocable, non-transferable license and right to use our patents, data, know-how, improvements, equipment designs, methods, processes and the like to the extent it is useful to research, develop and commercially exploit carbonate fuel cells in applications in which the fuel cells concentrate carbon dioxide from industrial and power sources and for any other purpose attendant thereto or associated therewith, in exchange for a $10 million payment. Such right and license is sublicenseable to third parties performing work for or with EMRE or its affiliates, but shall not otherwise be sublicenseable.

The EMRE License Agreement facilitated the execution of a new joint development agreement with EMRE, effective October 31, 2019 and executed in fiscal year 2020, pursuant to which we will continue exclusive research and development efforts with EMRE to evaluate and develop new and/or improved carbonate fuel cells to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from industrial and power sources, in exchange for (a) payment of (i) an exclusivity and technology access fee of $5.0 million, (ii) up to $45.0 million for research and development efforts, and (iii) milestone-based payments of up to $10.0 million after certain technological milestones are met, and (b) certain licenses.  As a result of the execution of the EMRE License Agreement in fiscal year 2020, the associated revenue and backlog will be accounted for in fiscal year 2020.


20


 

License Agreements with POSCO Energy

From approximately 2007 through 2015, we relied on POSCO Energy Co., Ltd. (“POSCO Energy”) to develop and grow the South Korean and Asian markets for our products and services.  

We record license fees and are entitled to receive royalty income from POSCO Energy related to manufacturing and technology transfer agreements entered into in 2007, 2009 and 2012.  The Cell Technology Transfer Agreement ("CTTA"), executed in October 2012, provides POSCO Energy with the technology rights to manufacture, sell, distribute and service our SureSource 300, SureSource 1500 and SureSource 3000 fuel cell technology in Asia. POSCO Energy built a cell manufacturing facility in Pohang, South Korea which became operational in late 2015.

In October 2016, the Company and POSCO Energy extended the terms of the 2007 and 2009 manufacturing and technology transfer agreements to be consistent with the term of the CTTA, which expires on October 31, 2027.   The CTTA requires POSCO Energy to pay us a 3.0% royalty on POSCO Energy net product sales, as well as a royalty on scheduled fuel cell module replacements under service agreements for modules that were built by POSCO Energy and installed at plants in Asia under the terms of long-term service agreements between POSCO Energy and its customers. While the aforementioned manufacturing and technology transfer agreements entered into in 2007, 2009 and 2012 remain in effect, due to certain actions and inactions of POSCO Energy, the Company has not realized any material revenues, royalties or new projects developed by POSCO Energy since 2016.

In March 2017, we entered into a memorandum of understanding (“MOU”) with POSCO Energy to permit us to directly develop the Asian fuel cell business, including the right for us to sell SureSource solutions in South Korea and the broader Asian market. In June 2018, POSCO Energy advised us in writing that it was terminating the MOU effective July 15, 2018.  Pursuant to the terms of the MOU, notwithstanding its termination, we will continue to execute on sales commitments in Asia secured in writing prior to July 15, 2018, including the 20 MW power plant installed for KOSPO.

On or about November 2, 2018, POSCO Energy served FuelCell Energy with an arbitration demand, initiating a proceeding to resolve various outstanding amounts between the companies. The parties amicably resolved the arbitration proceeding in July 2019. Since that date, we have made numerous attempts to engage with POSCO Energy to address the need for deployment of carbonate fuel cell technology in the Asian market in accordance with the requirements of the manufacturing and technology transfer agreements, our understanding of the desire of the South Korean government to advance fuel cell and hydrogen technology, and the needs of the Asian market, but have made little progress to date.

In November 2019, POSCO Energy spun-off its fuel cell business into a new entity, Korea Fuel Cell, Ltd. (“KFC”). As part of the spin-off, POSCO Energy transferred manufacturing and service rights under the aforementioned manufacturing and technology transfer agreements to KFC, but retained distribution rights, including trademarks, and severed its own liability under the aforementioned manufacturing and technology transfer agreements. We believe that these actions are all in material breach of the terms of the CTTA and other manufacturing and technology transfer agreements and are effectively a misappropriation of the Company’s intellectual property. We have formally objected to POSCO Energy’s spin-off, and POSCO Energy has posted a bond to secure any liabilities to FuelCell Energy arising out of the spin-off. In light of the situation with POSCO Energy, we are evaluating all of our options with respect to our relationship and agreements with POSCO Energy, including trade related matters, POSCO Energy’s material breach of its obligations under the CTTA and the manufacturing and technology transfer agreements, and the misappropriation of our intellectual property.

 

Company Funded Research and Development

In addition to research and development performed under research contracts, including as described in Advanced Technology Programs, we also fund our own research and development activities to support the commercial fleet with product enhancements and improvements. During fiscal year 2018, we launched our seven-year life stacks, which extended our stack life from five years to seven years. Greater power output and improved longevity are expected to lead to improved gross margin profitability on a per-unit basis for each power plant sold and improved profitability of service contracts, which are expected to support expanding gross margins for the Company.

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In addition to output and life enhancements, we designed and introduced the 3.7 MW SureSource 4000 configuration with increased electrical efficiency, and we continually invest in cost reduction and improving the performance, quality and serviceability of our plants. These efforts are intended to improve our value proposition.

Company-funded research and development is included in Research and development expenses (operating expenses) in our consolidated financial statements.  The total research and development expenditures in the consolidated statement of operations, including third party and Company-funded expenditures, are as follows:

 

 

 

Years Ended October 31,

 

(dollars in thousands)

 

2019

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

Cost of Advanced Technologies contract revenues

 

$

12,884

 

 

$

10,360

 

 

$

12,728

 

Research and development expenses

 

 

13,786

 

 

 

22,817

 

 

 

20,398

 

Total research and development

 

$

26,670

 

 

$

33,177

 

 

$

33,126

 

 

Backlog

 

Backlog represents definitive agreements executed by the Company and our customers.

 

Contract backlog as of October 31, 2019 and 2018 consisted of the following (in thousands):

 

 

 

2019

 

 

2018

 

Commercial:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Product

 

$

 

 

$

1

 

Service (a)

 

 

169,371

 

 

 

251,650

 

Generation

 

 

1,114,366

 

 

 

839,483

 

License (b)

 

 

22,931

 

 

 

 

Total Commercial

 

$

1,306,668

 

 

$

1,091,134

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advanced Technologies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Funded

 

$

11,758

 

 

$

15,934

 

Unfunded

 

 

220

 

 

 

16,449

 

Total Advanced Technologies

 

$

11,978

 

 

$

32,383

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Contract Backlog

 

$

1,318,646

 

 

$

1,123,517

 

 

(a)

In July 2018, we contracted to operate and maintain a 20 MW plant for Korea Southern Power Company (“KOSPO”). This contract was originally included in backlog as a twenty year contract, which reflected the total potential term of the contract. Under the terms of the contract, KOPSO has a renewal option in year ten. Thus, in conjunction with the adoption of Accounting Standards Codification Topic 606, “Revenue from Contracts with Customers,” which was adopted and implemented by the Company on November 1, 2018, service backlog was reduced by $64.3 million in fiscal year 2018 and fiscal year 2019 compared to the amounts previously disclosed. Should KOSPO exercise its renewal option, service backlog will be adjusted accordingly.  

(b)

License backlog was not included prior to the adoption of Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) 2014-09, “Revenue from Contracts with Customers,” which was implemented by the Company on November 1, 2018.

 

Service and generation backlog as of October 31, 2019 had a weighted average term of approximately 18 years, with weighting based on dollar backlog and utility service contracts of up to 20 years in duration at inception.  Generally, our government research and development contracts are subject to the risk of termination at the convenience of the contracting agency.

Our backlog amount outstanding is not indicative of amounts to be earned in the upcoming fiscal year.  The specific elements of backlog may vary in terms of timing and revenue recognition from less than one year to up to 20 years.  

The Company may choose to sell or retain operating power plants on the balance sheet, thus creating variability in timing of revenue recognition.  Accordingly, the timing and the nature of our business makes it difficult to predict what portion of our backlog will be filled in the next fiscal year. 

 

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Fuel Cell Technologies

Fuel cell technologies are classified according to the electrolyte used by each fuel cell type. Our SureSource technology utilizes a carbonate electrolyte. Carbonate-based fuel cells are well-suited for megawatt-class applications, offering a number of advantages over other types of fuel cells in our target markets.

These advantages include:

 

 

The ability of Carbonate Fuel Cells to generate electricity directly from readily available fuels such as natural gas or Renewable Biogas;

 

Lower raw material costs as the high temperature of the fuel cell enables the use of commodity metals rather than precious metals;

 

Scalability to leverage on-site components to reduce cost;

 

High-quality heat suitable for CHP applications; and

 

The ability to perform advanced applications, including carbon capture and hydrogen production to provide fuel for fuel cell vehicles.

We are also actively developing SOFC technology, as discussed in the prior “Advanced Technologies Programs” section.  Other fuel cell types that may be used for commercial applications include phosphoric acid and PEM.

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The following table illustrates the four principal types of fuel cells, highlighting typical market applications, industry estimates of the electrical efficiency, expected capacity range, and versatility for applications in addition to power generation:

 

System Size Range

MW- Class

 

Sub-MW- Class

 

Micro CHP

 

Mobile

 

Carbonate (CFC)

 

Carbonate (CFC)

Solid Oxide (SOFC)

Phosphoric Acid (PAFC)

 

PEM / SOFC

 

Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM)

Plant size

1.4 MW - 3.7 MW Plus

 

250 kW – 400 kW

up to 300 kW

up to 440 kW

 

< 10 kW

 

5 - 100 kW

Typical Application

Utilities, Universities, Commercial & Industrial

 

Universities, Commercial & Industrial

Commercial Buildings & “Big-Box” Retail Stores

Commercial Buildings & Grocery Stores

 

Residential and Small Commercial

 

Transportation

Fuel

Natural gas, On-site or Directed Biogas, Others

 

Natural gas, On-Site or Directed Biogas, Others

Natural Gas

Natural Gas

 

Natural Gas

 

Hydrogen

Advantages

High Efficiency, Scalable, Fuel Flexible & CHP

 

High Efficiency, Fuel Flexible & CHP

High Efficiency

CHP

 

Load Following & CHP

 

Load Following & Low Temperature

Electrical efficiency

43%-47% to 60%

 

43% - 47%

41% - 65%

40% - 42%

 

25% - 35%

 

25% - 35%

Combined Heat & Power (CHP)

Yes, Steam & Chilling

 

Yes, Hot Water

Depends on Technology Used

Limited:  Hot Water, Chilling

 

Suitable for Facility Heating

 

No

Carbon Capture

Yes

 

No

No

No

 

No

 

No

Distributed Hydrogen

Yes

 

No

Yes

No

 

No

 

No

Reversible for Storage

No

 

No

Yes

No

 

No

 

No

 

Competition

Our SureSource power plants compete in the marketplace for stationary distributed generation. In addition to different types of stationary fuel cells, some other technologies that compete in this marketplace include micro-turbines and reciprocating gas engines.

Several companies in the U.S. are engaged in fuel cell development, although we are the only domestic company engaged in manufacturing and deployment of stationary Carbonate Fuel Cells. Other fuel cell technologies (and the companies developing them) include small or portable PEM fuel cells (Ballard Power Systems, Plug Power, and increasing activity by numerous automotive companies including Toyota, Hyundai, Honda and GM), stationary phosphoric acid fuel cells (Doosan), stationary solid oxide fuel cells (Bloom Energy), and small residential solid oxide fuel cells (Ceres Power Holdings and Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd.).  Each of these competitors with stationary fuel cell applications has the potential to capture market share in our target markets.

Other than fuel cell developers, we may compete with companies such as Caterpillar, Cummins, Wartsila, MTU Friedrichshafen GmbH (MTU), and Detroit Diesel, which manufacture combustion-based distributed power

24


 

generation equipment, including various engines and turbines, and have established manufacturing and distribution operations along with product operating and cost features. Competition on larger MW projects may also come from gas turbine companies like General Electric, Caterpillar Solar Turbines and Kawasaki.

We also compete against the electric grid, which is readily available to prospective customers.  The electric grid is supplied by traditional centralized power plants, including coal, gas and nuclear, with transmission lines used to transport the electricity to the point of use.

Our stationary fuel cell power plants also compete against large scale solar and wind technologies, although we complement the unreliable intermittent nature of solar and wind with the continuous, reliable power output of the fuel cells.  Solar and wind require specific geographies and weather profiles, require transmission for utility-scale applications, an energy storage solution to provide continuous power output, and a significant amount of land compared to our fuel cell power plants, making it difficult to site megawatt-class solar and wind projects in urban areas, unlike our solutions. Solar and wind applications are typically favored in markets which have a preference for zero-carbon resources. While fuel cells emit negligible amounts of NOx, SOx and particulates, fuel cells do emit a small amount of carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide emissions of a fuel cell are only a fraction of the carbon dioxide emissions of traditional combustion generators. We are working to educate policy makers in our target markets of the clean profile of our technology and the benefits of baseload power to complement zero carbon intermittent resources.

Our distributed hydrogen solution competes against traditional centralized hydrogen generation as well as electrolyzers used for distributed applications.  Hydrogen is typically generated at a central location in large quantities by combustion-based steam reforming and then distributed to end users by diesel truck.  Besides utilizing tri-generation SureSource plants for distributed hydrogen, electrolyzers can be used that are in essence, reverse fuel cells.  Electrolyzers take electricity and convert it to hydrogen.  The hydrogen can be used as it is generated, compressed and stored, or injected into the natural gas pipeline. Companies using fuel cell-based electrolyzer technology for transportation applications include NEL and Hydrogenics Corporation.

Hydrogen is an energy carrier and energy storage utilizing hydrogen is a growing market opportunity that we are pursuing with our SOFC/SOEC technology.  Companies using PEM-based fuel cell electrolyzer technology for storage include Hydrogenics Corporation and ITM Power PLC.

 

Regulatory and Legislative Environment

Distributed generation addresses certain power generation issues that central generation does not and legal, government and regulatory policy can impact deployment of distributed generation. The policies that affect our products are not always the same as those imposed on our competitors, and while some policies can make our products less competitive, others may provide an advantage. Certain utility policies may also pose barriers to our installation or interconnection with the utility grid, such as backup, standby or departing load charges that make installation of our products not economically attractive for our customers. Regulatory and legislative support encompasses policy, incentive programs, and defined sustainability initiatives such as Renewable Portfolio Standards (“RPS”).

Various states and municipalities in the U.S. have adopted programs for which our products qualify, including programs supporting self-generation, clean air power generation, combined heat and power applications, carbon reduction, grid resiliency / microgrids and utility ownership of fuel cell projects.

 

The majority of states in the U.S. have enacted legislation adopting Clean Energy Standards (“CES”) or RPS mechanisms. Under these standards, regulated utilities and other load serving entities are required to procure a specified percentage of their total electricity sales to end-user customers from eligible resources. CES and RPS legislation and implementing regulations vary significantly from state to state, particularly with respect to the percentage of renewable energy required to achieve the state’s mandate, the definition of eligible clean and renewable energy resources, and the extent to which renewable energy credits (certificates representing the generation of renewable energy) qualify for CES or RPS compliance. Fuel cells using Biogas qualify as renewable power generation technology in all of the CES and RPS states in the U.S., and some states specify that fuel cells operating on natural gas are also eligible for these initiatives in recognition of the high efficiency and low pollutants of fuel cells.  Other states are moving away from generation utilizing fossil fuels in favor of zero carbon resources.

 

In February 2018, the U.S. Congress reinstated the 30% Investment Tax Credit (“ITC”) for fuel cells and also extended and significantly expanded the existing Carbon Oxide Sequestration Credit. The ITC phases down to 26% in 2020 and

25


 

22% by 2022 and is set to expire in 2023. The reinstatement of the ITC for fuel cells provided equal access to tax incentives for U.S. fuel cell manufacturers when compared with other clean energy solutions.

Internationally, South Korea has an RPS to promote clean energy, reduce carbon emissions, and develop local manufacturing of clean energy generation products to accelerate economic growth. The RPS is designed to increase new and renewable power generation to 10% of total power generation by 2024 from 2% when the RPS began in 2012.  Eighteen of the largest power generators are obligated to achieve the RPS requirements in their generation or purchase offsetting renewable energy certificates.  Financial penalties are levied by the government for non-compliance.  European governments are supportive of hydrogen-based generation and efficient CHP applications, and some European governments such as Germany, the UK and the Netherlands, provide incentives in the form of tax incentives, grants and waivers of regulatory fees for such installations.

 

Government Regulation

Our Company and its products are subject to various federal, provincial, state and local laws and regulations relating to, among other things, land use, safe working conditions, handling and disposal of hazardous and potentially hazardous substances and emissions of pollutants into the atmosphere. Negligible emissions of SOx and NOx from our power plants are substantially lower than conventional combustion-based generating stations, and are far below existing and proposed regulatory limits. The primary emissions from our power plants, assuming no cogeneration application, are humid flue gas that is discharged at temperatures of 700-800° F, water that is discharged at temperatures of 10-20° F above ambient air temperatures, and CO2 in per kW hour amounts that are much less than conventional fossil fuel central generation power plants due to the high efficiency of fuel cells. The discharge of water from our power plants requires permits that depend on whether the water is to be discharged into a storm drain or into the local wastewater system.

We are also subject to federal, state, provincial and/or local regulation with respect to, among other things, siting. In addition, utility companies and several states in the U.S. have created and adopted, or are in the process of creating and adopting, interconnection regulations covering both technical and financial requirements for interconnection of fuel cell power plants to utility grids. Our power plants are designed to meet all applicable laws, regulations and industry standards for use in international markets in which we operate.  Our SureSource solutions are CARB 2007 certified, and our SureSource 1500 and SureSource 3000, when operating on Biogas, are certified for the CARB 2013 biogas standard.

We are committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for our employees, and we are dedicated to seeing that safety and health hazards are adequately addressed through appropriate work practices, training and procedures.  All of our employees must observe the proper safety rules and environmental practices in work situations, consistent with our work practices, training and procedures, and consistent with all applicable health, safety and environmental laws and regulations.

 

Proprietary Rights and Licensed Technology

 

Our intellectual property consists of patents, trade secrets and institutional knowledge and know how that we believe is a competitive advantage and represents a significant barrier to entry for potential competitors.  Our Company was founded in 1969 as an applied research company and began focusing on Carbonate Fuel Cells in the 1980s, with our first fully-commercialized SureSource power plant sold in 2003. Over this time, we have gained extensive experience in designing, manufacturing, operating and maintaining fuel cell power plants.  This experience cannot be easily or quickly replicated and, combined with our trade secrets, proprietary processes and patents, safeguards our intellectual property rights.

 

As of October 31, 2019, our Company, excluding its subsidiaries, had 95 patents in the U.S. and 153 patents in other jurisdictions covering our fuel cell technology (in certain cases covering the same technology in multiple jurisdictions), with patents directed to various aspects of our SureSource technology, SOFC technology, PEM fuel cell technology, and applications thereof. As of October 31, 2019, we also had 62 patent applications pending in the U.S. and 112 pending in other jurisdictions.  Our U.S. patents will expire between 2020 and 2037, and the current average remaining life of our U.S. patents is approximately 8.4 years.

 

Our subsidiary, Versa Power Systems, Ltd., as of October 31, 2019, had 33 U.S. patents and 96 international patents covering the SOFC technology (in certain cases covering the same technology in multiple jurisdictions), with an average remaining U.S. patent life of approximately 5.5 years.  As of October 31, 2019, Versa Power Systems, Ltd. also had 1 pending U.S. patent application and 11 patent applications pending in other jurisdictions.  In addition, as of

26


 

October 31, 2019, our subsidiary, FuelCell Energy Solutions, GmbH, had license rights to 2 U.S. patents and 7 patents outside the U.S. for carbonate fuel cell technology licensed from Fraunhofer IKTS.

 

Five patents expired in 2019, but none of these expirations, individually or in the aggregate, is expected to have any material impact on our current or anticipated operations.  As has historically been the case, we are continually innovating and have a significant number of invention disclosures that we are reviewing that may result in additional patent applications.

 

Certain of our U.S. patents are the result of government-funded research and development programs, including our DOE programs. U.S. patents we own that resulted from government-funded research are subject to the government potentially exercising “march-in” rights. We believe that the likelihood of the U.S. government exercising these rights is remote and would only occur if we ceased our commercialization efforts and there was a compelling national need to use the patents.

 

Significant Customers and Information about Geographic Areas

 

We contract with a concentrated number of customers for the sale of our products and for research and development. For the years ended October 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, our top customers, EMRE, Dominion Bridgeport Fuel Cell, LLC, Connecticut Power and Light, the DOE, Pfizer Inc., POSCO Energy, Hanyang Industrial Development Co., Ltd, Clearway Energy (formerly NRG Yield, Inc.), and AEP Onsite Partners, LLC, accounted for an aggregate of 80%, 86% and 79%, respectively, of our total annual consolidated revenue. Revenue percentage by major customer for the last three fiscal years is as follows:

 

 

 

Years Ended October 31,

 

 

 

2019

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company (EMRE)

 

 

40

%

 

 

6

%

 

 

9

%

Dominion Bridgeport Fuel Cell, LLC (a)

 

 

13

%

 

 

3

%

 

 

11

%

Connecticut Light and Power (a)

 

 

11

%

 

 

%

 

 

%

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)

 

 

6

%

 

 

8

%

 

 

9

%

Pfizer, Inc.

 

 

6

%

 

 

4

%

 

 

4

%

POSCO Energy

 

 

3

%

 

 

5

%

 

 

6

%

Clearway Energy (formerly NRG Yield, Inc.)

 

 

1

%

 

 

15

%

 

 

%

Hanyang Industrial Development Co., Ltd.

 

 

%

 

 

35

%

 

 

40

%

AEP Onsite Partners, LLC

 

 

%

 

 

10

%

 

 

%

Total

 

 

80

%

 

 

86

%

 

 

79

%

 

(a)

Dominion Bridgeport Fuel Cell, LLC was acquired by the Company on May 9, 2019.  As a result of this acquisition, revenue is now (subsequent to the acquisition) recognized under the related PPA for electricity sales to Connecticut Light and Power.    

 

See Item 7 – “Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and Item 8 – “Consolidated Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” for further information regarding our revenue and revenue recognition policies.

 

We have marketing and manufacturing operations both within and outside the United States. We source raw materials and BOP components from a diverse global supply chain.  In 2019, the foreign country with the greatest concentration risk was South Korea, accounting for 4% of our consolidated net sales.  The Company is entitled to receive royalties from POSCO Energy on the sale of power plants and module replacements related to service of fuel cell power plants in Asia, and the Company received approximately $0.4 million in such royalties during the fiscal year ended October 31, 2019 as part of a net settlement of the arbitration brought by POSCO Energy.  As part of our strategic plan, we are in the process of diversifying our sales mix from both a customer specific and geographic perspective. See Item 1A: Risk Factors - “We are substantially dependent on a concentrated number of customers and the loss of any one of these customers could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations,” “We depend on strategic relationships with third parties, and the terms and enforceability of many of these relationships are not certain,” and “The situation with POSCO Energy has limited and continues to limit our efforts to access the South Korean and Asian markets and could expose us to costs of arbitration or litigation proceedings.”

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The international nature of our operations subjects us to a number of risks, including fluctuations in exchange rates, adverse changes in foreign laws or regulatory requirements and tariffs, taxes, and other trade restrictions. See Item 1A: Risk Factors – “We are subject to risks inherent in international operations.” See also Note 16. “Segment Information,” to the consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8, “Consolidated Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for information about our net sales by geographic region for the years ended October 31, 2019, 2018, and 2017. See also Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” for other information about our operations and activities in various geographic regions.

 

Sustainability

FuelCell Energy’s ultra-clean, efficient and reliable fuel cell power plants help our customers achieve their sustainability goals. These highly efficient and environmentally friendly products support the “Triple Bottom Line” concept of sustainability, consisting of environmental, social and economic considerations. In October 2018, we were certified ISO 14001:2015 compliant, having demonstrated the establishment of and adherence to an environmental management system standard.  FuelCell Energy is the only fuel cell manufacturer to have received this certification.

Product efficiency

The electrical efficiency of our carbonate fuel cell solutions ranges from approximately 47% to 60% depending on the configuration.  When configured for CHP, our system efficiencies can potentially reach up to 90%, depending on the application. This compares favorably to the average efficiency of the U.S. electrical grid of about 40%.  Our solutions deliver this high electrical efficiency where the power is used, avoiding transmission.  Transmission line losses average about 5% for the U.S. grid, which represents inefficiency and is a hidden cost to ratepayers.

Product end-of-life management

We continue to incorporate sustainability best practices into our corporate culture, as well as into the design, manufacture, installation and servicing of our fuel cell power plants.  For example, when our plants reach the end of their useful lives, we can refurbish and re-use certain parts and then recycle most of what we cannot re-use.  Some of the parts in the fuel cell module can be re-furbished, such as end plates, while the individual fuel cell components are sent to a smelter for recycling. The BOP has an operating life of 20-to-25 years, at which time metals such as steel and copper are reclaimed for scrap value.  By weight, approximately 93% of the entire power plant can be re-used or recycled at the end of its useful life.

Our manufacturing process has a very low carbon footprint, utilizing an assembly oriented production strategy.  While we continue to enhance and adopt sustainable business practices, we recognize this is an ongoing effort with more to be accomplished, such as further reducing the direct and indirect aspects of our carbon footprint.

Workforce Health & Safety

We work to continually improve what we feel is a robust safety program.  This is demonstrated by an improving safety trend over each of the past 5 years.  We have never had a workplace fatality at any of our facilities or power plant installations.

Sustainability also incorporates social risks and human rights, and we will not knowingly support or do business with suppliers that treat workers improperly or unlawfully, including, without limitation, those that engage in child labor, human trafficking, slavery or other unlawful or morally reprehensible employment practices.  We are continuing to implement comprehensive monitoring of our global supply chain to eliminate social risks and ensure respect for human rights. We contractually ensure that all qualified domestic suppliers in our supply chain comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended.  

 

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Materials sourcing

 

Assuring the absence of conflict minerals in our power plants is a continuing initiative.  Our fuel cells, including the fuel cell components and completed fuel cell module, do not utilize any 3TG minerals (i.e., tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold) that are classified as conflict minerals.  We do utilize componentry in the BOP such as computer circuit boards that utilize trace amounts of 3TG minerals. For perspective, total shipments in fiscal year 2018 weighed approximately 2.8 million pounds, of which 8.0 pounds, or 0.000291%, represented 3TG minerals, so the presence of these minerals is minimal.  Our conflict mineral disclosure filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) on Form SD contains specific information on the actions we are taking to avoid the use of conflict minerals.

 

Associates

 

As of October 31, 2019, we had 301 full-time associates, of whom 119 were located at the Torrington manufacturing plant, 145 were located at the Danbury, Connecticut facility or other field offices within the U.S., and 37 were located abroad.  We did not have any part-time associates. None of our U.S. associates are represented by a labor union or covered by a collective bargaining agreement.  We believe our relations with our associates are good.

 

Available Information

 

Our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and all amendments to those reports are made available free of charge through the Investor Relations section of the Company’s website (http://www.fuelcellenergy.com) as soon as practicable after such material is electronically filed with, or furnished to, the SEC. Material contained on our website is not incorporated by reference in this report. Our executive offices are located at 3 Great Pasture Road, Danbury, CT 06810. The public may also read and copy any materials that we file with the SEC at the SEC’s Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, NE, Washington, D.C. 20549. The public may obtain information on the operation of the Public Reference Room by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330. The SEC also maintains an Internet website that contains reports and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC located at http://www.sec.gov.

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Information about our Executive Officers

 

NAME

 

AGE

 

PRINCIPAL OCCUPATION

Jason B. Few

President, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Commercial Officer

 

53

 

Mr. Few was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer in August 2019 and Chief Commercial Officer in September 2019 and has served as a director since 2018. Mr. Few chairs the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors (the “Board”). Prior to joining FuelCell Energy, Mr. Few served as President of Sustayn Analytics LLC, a cloud-based software waste and recycling optimization company, since 2018, and as the Founder and Senior Managing Partner of BJF Partners LLC, a privately held strategic consulting firm, since 2016. Mr. Few has over 30 years of experience increasing enterprise value for Global Fortune 500 and privately-held technology, telecommunications, technology and energy firms. He has overseen transformational opportunities across the technology and industrial energy sectors, in roles including Founder and Senior Managing Partner of BJF Partners, LLC; President and Chief Executive Officer of Continuum Energy, an energy products and services company, from 2013-2016; various roles including Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer of NRG Energy, Inc., an integrated energy company, from 2011 to 2012; and from 2008 to 2009, Vice President, Smart Energy and from 2009 to 2012, President of Reliant Energy, a retail electricity provider. Mr. Few also has served as a Senior Advisor to Verve Industrial Protection, an industrial cybersecurity software company, since 2016.

 

Mr. Few was elected to the board of Marathon Oil (NYSE: MRO) effective April 1, 2019, and is a member of Marathon Oil’s Audit and Finance and Corporate Governance and Nominating Committees.

 

Mr. Few received his Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Systems in Business from Ohio University, and a MBA from Northwestern University’s J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

 

 

 

 

 

Michael S. Bishop

Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer

 

51

 

Mr. Bishop was appointed Executive Vice President in June 2019 and has served as the Company’s Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer since June 2011.  Mr. Bishop previously served as Senior Vice President of the Company from June 2011 to June 2019. He has more than 20 years of experience in financial operations and management with public high growth technology companies with a focus on capital raising, project finance, debt/treasury management, investor relations, strategic planning, internal controls, and organizational development. Since joining the Company in 2003, Mr. Bishop has held a succession of financial leadership roles, including Assistant Controller, Corporate Controller and Vice President and Controller. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Bishop held finance and accounting positions at TranSwitch Corporation, Cyberian Outpost, Inc. and United Technologies, Inc. He is a certified public accountant and began his professional career at McGladrey and Pullen, LLP (now RSM US LLP). Mr. Bishop also served four years in the United States Marine Corps.

 

Mr. Bishop received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Boston University and a MBA from the University of Connecticut.

 

 

 

 

 

30


 

NAME

 

AGE

 

PRINCIPAL OCCUPATION

Jennifer D. Arasimowicz, Esq.

Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Chief Administrative Officer and Corporate Secretary

 

47

 

Ms. Arasimowicz was appointed Chief Administrative Officer in September 2019 and has served as Executive Vice President since June 2019, General Counsel since April 2017 and Corporate Secretary since April 2017. In her current position (and in her prior positions), Ms. Arasimowicz, a licensed attorney in Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts, is (and was) the chief legal, compliance and administrative officer of the Company, having responsibility for oversight of all of the Company’s legal and government affairs, and providing leadership in all aspects of the Company’s business, including compliance, corporate governance and board activities.  Ms. Arasimowicz joined the Company in 2012 as Associate Counsel and was promoted to Vice President in 2014, to General Counsel and Corporate Secretary in 2017 and to Senior Vice President also in 2017. Ms. Arasimowicz also previously served as Interim President from June 2019 to August 2019 and as Chief Commercial Officer from June 2019 to September 2019. Prior to joining the Company, Ms. Arasimowicz served as General Counsel of Total Energy Corporation, a New York based diversified energy products and service company providing a broad range of specialized services to utilities and industrial companies.  Previously, Ms. Arasimowicz was a partner at Shipman & Goodwin in Hartford, Connecticut, chairing the Utility Law Practice Group and began her legal career as an associate at Murtha Cullina, LLP.  

 

Ms. Arasimowicz earned her Juris Doctor at Boston University School of Law and holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Boston University.

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Lisowski

Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer

 

49

 

Mr. Lisowski was appointed Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in June 2019.  Mr. Lisowski has served as the Company’s Vice President of Global Operations since 2018, and, from 2001 to 2018, held various other positions within the Company, including Vice President of Supply Chain from 2010 to 2018. Mr. Lisowski is a senior global operations leader with 26 years of progressive operations experience in technology-driven businesses. In his position as the Company’s Chief Operating Officer (and in his prior position as the Company’s Vice President of Global Operations), Mr. Lisowski is (and was) responsible for the Supply Chain, Manufacturing, Quality, Project Management, Environmental Health and Safety, and Plant Engineering functions of the Company. Additionally, Mr. Lisowski and his team are responsible for the development and qualification of strategic suppliers for critical direct materials, as well as procurement of capital equipment in support of operations.

 

Mr. Lisowski earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Business Administration at Western New England University and a Master’s Degree in Management, Global Supply Chain Integrations from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

 

 

 

 

 

31


 

NAME

 

AGE

 

PRINCIPAL OCCUPATION

Anthony Leo

Executive Vice President, Chief Technology Officer

 

62

 

Mr. Leo was appointed Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer in June 2019 and, prior to that, served as Vice President of Applications and Advanced Technologies since 2014.  From 1978 to 2014, Mr. Leo has held various other positions with the Company, including Vice President of Application Engineering and Advanced Technology Development, Vice President of Applications and OEM Engineering, and Vice President of Product Engineering. Mr. Leo has held key leadership roles in the Company’s research, development, and commercialization of stationary fuel cell power plants for more than 30 years. In his current position and in his position as the Company’s Vice President of Applications and Advanced Technologies, Mr. Leo is and has been responsible for Applications and Advanced Technology Development. In Mr. Leo’s other positions with the Company, he has been responsible for managing advanced research and development of rechargeable batteries and fuel cells, managing the first large-scale demonstration stationary fuel cell project, and establishing the Product Engineering Group.

 

Mr. Leo earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and is currently serving on the U.S. Department of Energy Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technical Advisory Committee.

 

ITEM 1A.

RISK FACTORS

 

You should carefully consider the following risk factors before making an investment decision.  If any of the following risks actually occur, our business, financial condition, or results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.  In such cases, the trading price of our common stock could decline, and you may lose all or part of your investment.  

 

If we do not meet the continued listing standards of The Nasdaq Global Market, our common stock could be delisted from trading, which could limit investors’ ability to make transactions in our common stock, subject us to additional trading restrictions, and trigger repurchase rights under the Amended Certificate of Designation for our 5% Series B Cumulative Convertible Perpetual Preferred Stock.

 

Our common stock is listed on The Nasdaq Global Market (FCEL), which imposes continued listing requirements with respect to listed securities. The Company has previously received notices from The Nasdaq Stock Market (“Nasdaq”), most recently on July 18, 2019, stating that we were not in compliance with Nasdaq Listing Rule 5450(a)(1) because the closing bid price of our common stock was below the required minimum of $1.00 per share for the previous 30 consecutive business days. In accordance with Nasdaq Listing Rules, we had a period of 180 calendar days, or until January 14, 2020, to regain compliance with the minimum bid price requirement. On January 13, 2020, we received a notice from Nasdaq confirming that we had regained compliance with the minimum bid price requirement as the closing bid price of our common stock was above the required minimum of $1.00 per share for at least ten consecutive business days from December 26, 2019 to January 10, 2020. However, if we are not able to demonstrate compliance with the minimum bid price requirement in the future, if we fail to meet other continued listing requirements, or if we are otherwise not eligible for continued listing on Nasdaq, we may receive additional notices, and, if we are unable to regain compliance within the prescribed timeframe, our common stock will be subject to delisting. Such delisting could adversely affect the market price and liquidity of our common stock and reduce our ability to raise additional capital.

 

Additionally, if the Company’s common stock is delisted from trading on Nasdaq and is not approved for trading or quoted on any other U.S. securities exchange or other established over-the-counter trading market in the United States (a “Fundamental Change”), then, pursuant to the Amended Certificate of Designation for the 5% Series B Cumulative Convertible Perpetual Preferred Stock (“Series B Preferred Stock”) dated March 14, 2005, each holder of the Series B Preferred Stock has the right, at its option, to require us to purchase all or a portion of such holder’s shares of Series B Preferred Stock on the date that is 45 days after the date of the Company’s notice of such Fundamental Change for

32


 

an amount equal to the sum of 100% of the liquidation preference (which is $1,000 per share) of the shares of Series B Preferred Stock to be repurchased, plus any accrued and unpaid dividends to, but excluding the Fundamental Change purchase date. Under Delaware law, we may repurchase shares of the Series B Preferred Stock only if our total assets would be greater than the sum of our total liabilities plus, unless our Certificate of Incorporation, as amended, permits otherwise, the amount needed, if we were to be dissolved at the time of the repurchase, to satisfy the preferential rights, upon dissolution, of stockholders whose preferential rights on dissolution are superior to the holders of shares of the Series B Preferred Stock.

 

We have a limited number of shares of common stock available for issuance, which limits our ability to raise capital.

 

We have historically relied on the equity markets to raise capital to fund our business and operations. As of October 31, 2019, we had only 31,391,316 shares of common stock available for issuance, of which 30,274,072 shares were reserved for issuance under various convertible securities, options, and warrants, under our stock purchase and incentive plans, and under our at-the-market sales plan.  As of January 14, 2020, we had 14,034,001 shares of common stock available for issuance, of which 10,290,934 shares were reserved for issuance under various convertible securities, options, and warrants, under our stock purchase and incentive plans, and under our at-the-market sales plan.  At the April 4, 2019 annual meeting of stockholders, our stockholders did not approve our request to increase the number of shares of common stock that we are authorized to issue from 225,000,000 shares to 335,000,000 shares. The limited number of shares available for issuance limits our ability to raise capital in the equity markets and satisfy obligations with shares instead of cash, which could adversely impact our ability to fund our business and operations.

 

We have incurred losses and anticipate continued losses and negative cash flow.

 

We have transitioned from a research and development company to a commercial products manufacturer, services provider and developer. We have not been profitable since our year ended October 31, 1997. We expect to continue to incur net losses and generate negative cash flows until we can produce sufficient revenues and margins to cover our costs. We may never become profitable. Even if we do achieve profitability, we may be unable to sustain or increase our profitability in the future. For the reasons discussed in more detail below, there are uncertainties associated with our achieving and sustaining profitability. We have, from time to time, sought financing in the public markets in order to fund operations and will continue to do so. Our future ability to obtain such financing could be impaired by a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, the price of our common stock, our lack of authorized, unreserved and unissued shares, and general market conditions.

 

Our cost reduction strategy may not succeed or may be significantly delayed, which may result in our inability to deliver improved margins.

 

Our cost reduction strategy is based on the assumption that increases in production will result in economies of scale. In addition, our cost reduction strategy relies on advancements in our manufacturing process, global competitive sourcing, engineering design, reducing the cost of capital and technology improvements (including stack life and projected power output). Failure to achieve our cost reduction targets could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

 

Our workforce reduction may cause undesirable consequences and our results of operations may be harmed.

 

On April 12, 2019, we undertook a reorganization, which included a workforce reduction of 30%, or 135 employees. This workforce reduction may yield unintended consequences, such as attrition beyond our intended reduction in workforce and reduced employee morale, which may cause our employees who were not affected by the reduction in workforce to seek alternate employment. Additional attrition could impede our ability to meet our operational goals, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial performance. In addition, as a result of the reductions in our workforce, we may face an increased risk of employment litigation. Furthermore, employees whose positions were eliminated or those who determine to seek alternate employment may seek employment with our competitors. Although all our employees are required to sign a confidentiality agreement with us at the time of hire, we cannot assure you that the confidential nature of our proprietary information will be maintained in the course of such future employment. We cannot assure you that we will not undertake additional workforce reduction activities, that any of our efforts will be successful, or that we will be able to realize the cost savings and other anticipated benefits from our previous or any future workforce reduction plans. In addition, if we continue to reduce our workforce, it may adversely impact our ability to respond rapidly to any new product, growth or revenue opportunities and to execute on our backlog and business plans. Additionally, our recent reduction in workforce may make it more difficult to recruit and retain new hires as our business grows.

 

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We have debt outstanding and may incur additional debt in the future, which may adversely affect our financial condition and future financial results.

 

Our total consolidated indebtedness was $106.3 million as of October 31, 2019. This includes approximately $81.2 million of debt at our project finance subsidiaries and $25.1 million of debt at the corporate level. The majority of our debt is long-term with $21.9 million due within twelve months of October 31, 2019.

 

On October 31, 2019, we (and certain of our subsidiaries as guarantors) entered into a Credit Agreement (the “Orion Credit Agreement”) with Orion Energy Partners Investment Agent, LLC, as Administrative Agent and Collateral Agent (the “Agent”), and its affiliates, Orion Energy Credit Opportunities Fund II, L.P., Orion Energy Credit Opportunities Fund II GPFA, L.P., and Orion Energy Credit Opportunities Fund II PV, L.P., as lenders, regarding a $200.0 million senior secured credit facility (the “Orion Facility”), structured as a delayed draw term loan, to be provided by the lenders.  In conjunction with the closing of the Orion Facility, on October 31, 2019, we drew down $14.5 million (the “Initial Funding”) to fully repay debt outstanding to NRG Energy, Inc. (“NRG”) and Generate Lending, LLC (“Generate”) and to fund dividends paid to the holders of the Company’s 5% Series B Cumulative Convertible Perpetual Preferred Stock (“Series B Preferred Stock”) on or before November 15, 2019.  The balance of the Initial Funding was used primarily to pay third party costs and expenses associated with closing on the Orion Facility.

 

As provided for in the Orion Credit Agreement, on November 22, 2019, we made a second draw (the “Second Funding”) of $65.5 million funded by Orion Energy Credit Opportunities Fund II, L.P., Orion Energy Credit Opportunities Fund II GPFA, L.P., Orion Energy Credit Opportunities Fund II PV, L.P., and Orion Energy Credit Opportunities FuelCell Co-Invest, L.P. (collectively, the “Orion Lenders”), such that the total fundings under the Orion Facility as of November 22, 2019 were equal to $80.0 million.   Proceeds from the Second Funding were used to repay outstanding third party debt with respect to certain Company projects, including the construction loan from Fifth Third Bank on the Groton Project and the loan from Webster Bank on the CCSU Project, as well as to fund remaining going forward construction costs and anticipated capital expenditures relating to certain projects, including the Groton Project, a 7.4 MW project for the CMEEC located on the U.S. Navy submarine base in Groton, Connecticut, the Long Island Power Authority (“LIPA”) Yaphank Solid Waste Management Project (a 7.4 MW project), and the Tulare BioMAT project (a 2.8 MW project). 

 

Our ability to make scheduled payments of principal and interest and other required repayments depends on our future performance, which is subject to economic, financial, competitive and other factors beyond our control. Our business may not generate cash flow from operations in the future sufficient to service our debt and make necessary capital expenditures.  In addition, the Agent and the lenders under the Orion Credit Agreement have broad approval rights over our ability to draw and allocate funds from the Orion Facility.  If we are unable to generate such cash flow, we may be required to adopt one or more alternatives, such as selling assets, restructuring operations, restructuring debt or obtaining additional equity capital on terms that may be onerous or dilutive.

 

It is also possible that we may incur additional indebtedness in the future in the ordinary course of business. If new debt is added to current debt levels, the risks described above could intensify. Our debt agreements contain representations and warranties, affirmative and negative covenants, and events of default that entitle the lenders to cause our indebtedness under such debt agreements to become immediately due and payable.

 

We are required to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting. Our management previously identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting. If we are unable to remediate the material weakness or other control deficiencies are identified in the future, we may not be able to report our financial results accurately, prevent fraud or file our periodic reports in a timely manner, which may adversely affect investor confidence in our company and, as a result, the value of our common stock.

 

We are required, pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, to furnish a report by management on, among other things, the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. Complying with Section 404 requires a rigorous compliance program as well as adequate time and resources. We may not be able to complete our internal control evaluation, testing and any required remediation in a timely fashion. Additionally, if we identify one or more material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, we will not be able to assert that our internal controls are effective. A material weakness is a deficiency, or combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of our annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis. 

 

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We previously disclosed in our Form 10-Qs for the quarters ended April 30, 2019 and July 31, 2019 that we did not have resources to sufficiently address asset impairments on a timely basis or the accounting considerations and disclosures related to our amended credit facilities. As a result, we concluded that there was a material weakness in internal control over financial reporting, as we did not maintain effective controls over the accounting for and disclosures in the consolidated financial statements related to asset impairments and credit facilities. This control deficiency has not been remediated as of October 31, 2019 and we further identified that we did not have resources to sufficiently address certain other non-routine transactions and disclosures. This material weakness resulted in material misstatements that were corrected in the consolidated financial statements prior to issuance. 

 

Subsequent to the evaluation made in connection with filing our Form 10-Q for the quarter ended April 30, 2019, our management, with the oversight of the Audit and Finance Committee of our Board of Directors, began the process of remediating the material weakness. Progress to date includes engagement of a third party resource to help evaluate the accounting and disclosure for significant matters each quarter. Management also plans to add additional experienced accounting staff. In addition, under the oversight of the Audit and Finance Committee, management will continue to review and make necessary changes to the overall design of our internal control environment to improve the overall effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting.

 

We have made progress in accordance with our remediation plan and our goal is to remediate this material weakness in fiscal year 2020. However, the material weakness will not be considered remediated until the applicable controls operate for a sufficient period of time and management has concluded, through testing, that these controls are operating effectively. We are committed to continuing to improve our internal control processes and will continue to review, optimize and enhance our financial reporting controls and procedures, however, there can be no assurance that this will occur within 2020

 

We cannot be certain that these measures will successfully remediate the material weakness or that other material weaknesses and control deficiencies will not be discovered in the future. If our efforts are not successful or other material weaknesses are identified in the future, or if we are not able to comply with the requirements of Section 404 in a timely manner, our reported financial results could be materially misstated and we could be subject to investigations or sanctions by regulatory authorities, which would require additional financial and management resources, and the value of our common stock could decline. 

 

To the extent we identify future weaknesses or deficiencies, there could be material misstatements in our consolidated financial statements and we could fail to meet our financial reporting obligations. As a result, our ability to obtain additional financing, or obtain additional financing on favorable terms, could be materially and adversely affected which, in turn, could materially and adversely affect our business, our financial condition and the value of our common stock. If we are unable to assert that our internal control over financial reporting is effective in the future, investor confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports could be further eroded, which would have a material adverse effect on the price of our common stock.

 

Our products compete with products using other energy sources, and if the prices of the alternative sources are lower than energy sources used by our products or attributes of other energy sources are favored over our products, sales of our products will be adversely affected.

 

Our power plants can operate on a variety of fuels including natural gas, Renewable Biogas, directed Biogas and propane. If these fuels are not readily available or if their prices increase such that electricity produced by our products costs more than electricity provided by other generation sources, our products would be less economically attractive to potential customers. In addition, we have no control over the prices of several types of competitive energy sources such as solar, wind, oil, gas or coal or local utility electricity costs. Significant decreases (or short term increases) in the price of these technologies or fuels or prices for grid delivered electricity could also have a material adverse effect on our business because other generation sources could be more economically attractive to consumers than our products. Additionally, in certain markets, consumers and regulators have expressed a preference for zero-carbon resources over fueled resources. Sales of our products could be adversely affected in these markets.  

 

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Financial markets worldwide have experienced heightened volatility and instability which may have a material adverse impact on our Company, our customers and our suppliers.

 

Financial market volatility can affect the debt, equity and project finance markets. This may impact the amount of financing available to all companies, including companies with substantially greater resources, better credit ratings and more successful operating histories than ours. It is impossible to predict future financial market volatility and instability and the impact on our Company, and it may have a materially adverse effect on us for a number of reasons, such as:

 

The long term nature of our sales cycle can require long lead times between application design, order booking and product fulfillment. For such sales, we often require substantial cash down payments in advance of delivery. For our generation business, we must invest substantial amounts in application design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and operation, which amounts are returned through energy sales over long periods of time. Our growth strategy assumes that financing will be available for us to finance working capital or for our customers to provide down payments and to pay for our products. Financial market issues may delay, cancel or restrict the construction budgets and funds available to us or our customers for the deployment of our products and services.

 

Projects using our products are, in part, financed by equity investors interested in tax benefits, as well as by the commercial and governmental debt markets. The significant volatility in the U.S. and international stock markets causes significant uncertainty and may result in an increase in the return required by investors in relation to the risk of such projects.

 

If we, our customers or our suppliers cannot obtain financing under favorable terms, our business may be negatively impacted.

 

Our contracted projects may not convert to revenue, and our project pipeline may not convert to contracts, which may have a material adverse effect on our revenue and cash flow.

 

Some of the project awards we receive and orders we accept from customers require certain conditions or contingencies (such as permitting, interconnection or financing) to be satisfied, some of which are outside of our control. The time periods from receipt of an award to execution of a contract, or receipt of a contract to installation may vary widely and are determined by a number of factors, including the terms of the award, the terms of the customer contract and the customer’s site requirements. These same or similar conditions and contingencies may be required by financiers in order to draw on financing to complete a project. If these conditions or contingencies are not satisfied, or changes in laws affecting project awards occur, project awards may not convert to contracts, and installations may be delayed or canceled. This could have an adverse impact on our revenue and cash flow and our ability to complete construction of a project.

 

We have signed product sales contracts, engineering, procurement and construction contracts (EPC), power purchase agreements (PPAs) and long-term service agreements with customers subject to contractual, technology and operating risks as well as market conditions that may affect our operating results.

 

We apply the transfer of control over time revenue recognition method under Accounting Standards Codification  Topic 606: Revenue from Contracts with Customer to certain product sales contracts which are subject to estimates. On a quarterly basis, we perform a review process to help ensure that total estimated contract costs include estimates of costs to complete that are based on the most recent available information. The amount of costs incurred on a cumulative to date basis as a function of estimated costs at completion is applied to contract consideration to determine the cumulative revenue that should be recognized to date.

 

In certain instances, we have executed PPAs with the end-user of the power or site host of the fuel cell power plant. We may then sell the PPA to a project investor or retain the project and collect revenue from the sale of power over the term of the PPA, recognizing electricity revenue as power is generated and sold.

 

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We have contracted under long-term service agreements with certain customers to provide service on our products over terms up to 20 years. Under the provisions of these contracts, we provide services to maintain, monitor, and repair customer power plants to meet minimum operating levels. Pricing for service contracts is based upon estimates of future costs including future module replacements. While we have conducted tests to determine the overall life of our products, we have not run certain of our products over their projected useful life prior to large scale commercialization. As a result, we cannot be sure that these products will last to their expected useful life, which could result in warranty claims, performance penalties, maintenance and module replacement costs in excess of our estimates and losses on service contracts.

 

Our ability to proceed with projects under development and complete construction of projects on schedule and within budget may be adversely affected by escalating costs for materials, tariffs, labor and regulatory compliance, inability to obtain necessary permits, interconnections or other approvals on acceptable terms or on schedule and by other factors. If any development project or construction is not completed, is delayed or is subject to cost overruns, we could become obligated to make delay or termination payments or become obligated for other damages under contracts, experience diminished returns or write off all or a portion of our capitalized costs in the project. Each of these events could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

Our growing portfolio of project assets exposes us to operational risks and commodity market volatility.

 

We have a growing portfolio of project assets used to generate and sell power under PPAs and utility tariff programs that exposes us to operational risks and uncertainties, including, among other things, lost revenues due to prolonged outages, replacement equipment costs, risks associated with facility start-up operations, failures in the availability or acquisition of fuel, the impact of severe adverse weather conditions, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, risks of property damage or injury from energized equipment, availability of adequate water resources and ability to intake and discharge water, use of new or unproven technology, fuel commodity price risk and fluctuating market prices, and lack of alternative available fuel sources.

 

We extend product warranties, which could affect our operating results.

 

We provide for a warranty of our products for a specific period of time against manufacturing or performance defects. We accrue for warranty costs based on historical warranty claim experience; however, actual future warranty expenses may be greater than we have assumed in our estimates. As a result, operating results could be negatively impacted should there be product manufacturing or performance defects in excess of our estimates.

 

Our products are complex and could contain defects and may not operate at expected performance levels which could impact sales and market adoption of our products or result in claims against us.

 

We develop complex and evolving products and we continue to advance the capabilities of our fuel cell stacks and are now producing stacks in the United States with a net rated power output of 350 kilowatts and an expected seven-year life.

 

We are still gaining field operating experience with respect to our products, and despite experience gained from our growing installed base and testing performed by us, our customers and our suppliers, issues may be found in existing or new products. This could result in a delay in recognition or loss of revenues, loss of market share or failure to achieve broad market acceptance. The occurrence of defects could also cause us to incur significant warranty, support and repair costs, could divert the attention of our engineering personnel from our product development efforts, and could harm our relationships with our customers. The occurrence of these problems could result in the delay or loss of market acceptance of our products and would likely harm our business. Defects or performance problems with our products could result in financial or other damages to our customers. From time to time, we have been involved in disputes regarding product warranty issues. Although we seek to limit our liability, a product liability claim brought against us, even if unsuccessful, would likely be time consuming, could be costly to defend, and may hurt our reputation in the marketplace. Our customers could also seek and obtain damages from us for their losses. We have accrued liabilities for potential damages related to performance problems; however, actual results may be different than the assumptions used in our accrual calculations.

 

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We currently face and will continue to face significant competition.

 

We compete on the basis of our products’ reliability, efficiency, environmental considerations and cost. Technological advances in alternative energy products or improvements in the electric grid or other sources of power generation, or other fuel cell technologies may negatively affect the development or sale of some or all of our products or make our products non-competitive or obsolete prior to or after commercialization. Other companies, some of which have substantially greater resources than ours, are currently engaged in the development of products and technologies that are similar to, or may be competitive with, our products and technologies.

 

Several companies in the U.S. are engaged in fuel cell development, although we are the only domestic company engaged in manufacturing and deployment of stationary carbonate fuel cells. Other emerging fuel cell technologies (and the companies developing them) include small or portable proton-exchange membrane (“PEM”) fuel cells (Ballard Power Systems, Plug Power, and increasing activity by numerous automotive companies including Toyota, Hyundai, Honda and GM), stationary phosphoric acid fuel cells (Doosan), stationary solid oxide fuel cells (Bloom Energy), and small residential solid oxide fuel cells (Ceres Power Holdings and Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd.). Each of these competitors has the potential to capture market share in our target markets. There are also other potential fuel cell competitors internationally that could capture market share.

 

Other than fuel cell developers, we must also compete with companies that manufacture combustion-based distributed power equipment, including various engines and turbines, and have well-established manufacturing, distribution, operating and cost features. Electrical efficiency of these products can be competitive with our SureSource power plants in certain applications. Significant competition may also come from gas turbine companies and large scale solar and wind technologies.

 

We derive significant revenue from contracts awarded through competitive bidding processes involving substantial costs and risks. Due to this competitive pressure, we may be unable to grow revenue and achieve profitability.

 

We expect a significant portion of the business that we will seek in the foreseeable future will be awarded through competitive bidding against other fuel cell technologies and other forms of power generation. The competitive bidding process involves substantial costs and a number of risks, including the significant cost and managerial time to prepare bids and proposals for contracts that may not be awarded to us and our failure to accurately estimate the resources and costs that will be required to fulfill any contract we win. In addition, following a contract award, we may encounter significant expense, delay or contract modifications as a result of our competitors protesting or challenging contracts awarded to us in competitive bidding. In addition, multi-award contracts require that we make sustained post-award efforts to obtain task orders under the contract. We may not be able to obtain task orders or recognize revenue under these multi-award contracts. Our failure to compete effectively in this procurement environment could adversely affect our revenue and/or profitability.

 

Unanticipated increases or decreases in business growth may result in adverse financial consequences for us.

 

If our business grows more quickly than we anticipate, our existing and planned manufacturing facilities may become inadequate and we may need to seek out new or additional space, at considerable cost to us. If our business does not grow as quickly as we expect, our existing and planned manufacturing facilities would, in part, represent excess capacity for which we may not recover the cost. In that circumstance, our revenues may be inadequate to support our committed costs and our planned growth, and our gross margins and business strategy would be adversely affected.

 

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Our plans are dependent on market acceptance of our products.

 

Our plans are dependent upon market acceptance of, as well as enhancements to, our products. Fuel cell systems represent an emerging market, and we cannot be sure that potential customers will accept fuel cells as a replacement for traditional power sources or non-fuel based power sources. As is typical in a rapidly evolving industry, demand and market acceptance for recently introduced products and services are subject to a high level of uncertainty and risk. Since the distributed generation market is still evolving, it is difficult to predict with certainty the size of the market and its growth rate. The development of a market for our products may be affected by many factors that are out of our control, including:

 

the cost competitiveness of our fuel cell products including availability and output expectations and total cost of ownership;

 

the future costs of natural gas and other fuels used by our fuel cell products;

 

customer reluctance to try a new product;

 

the market for distributed generation and government policies that affect that market;

 

local permitting and environmental requirements;

 

customer preference for non-fuel based technologies; and

 

the emergence of newer, more competitive technologies and products.

 

If a sufficient market fails to develop or develops more slowly than we anticipate, we may be unable to recover the losses we will have incurred in the development of our products and may never achieve profitability.

 

As we continue to expand markets for our products, we intend to continue offering power production guarantees and other terms and conditions relating to our products that will be acceptable to the marketplace, and continue to develop a service organization that will aid in servicing our products and obtain self-regulatory certifications, if available, with respect to our products. Failure to achieve any of these objectives may also slow the development of a sufficient market for our products and, therefore, have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

 

We are substantially dependent on a concentrated number of customers and the loss of any one of these customers could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

We contract with a concentrated number of customers for the sale of products and for research and development contracts. There can be no assurance that we will continue to achieve the current level of sales of our products to our largest customers. Even though our customer base is expected to increase and our revenue streams to diversify, a substantial portion of net revenues could continue to depend on sales to a limited number of customers. Our agreements with these customers may be canceled if we fail to meet certain product specifications or research and development milestones or materially breach the agreements, or if our customers materially breach the agreements, and our customers may seek to renegotiate the terms of current agreements or renewals. The loss of, or a reduction in sales to, one or more of our larger customers could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

If our goodwill and other intangible assets, long-lived assets, inventory or project assets become impaired, we may be required to record a significant charge to earnings.

 

We may be required to record a significant charge to operations in our financial statements should we determine that our goodwill, other intangible assets (i.e., in process research and development (“IPR&D”)), other long-lived assets (i.e., property, plant and equipment and definite-lived intangible assets), inventory, or project assets are impaired. Such a charge might have a significant impact on our reported financial condition and results of operations. We recorded a charge during the year ended October 31, 2019 for a specific construction in process asset related to automation equipment for use in manufacturing with a carrying value of $2.8 million, which was impaired due to uncertainty as to whether the asset will be completed as a result of our liquidity position and continued low level of production rates.

 

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As required by accounting rules, we review our goodwill for impairment at least annually as of July 31 or more frequently if facts and circumstances indicate that it is more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit that has goodwill is less than its carrying value. Factors that may be considered a change in circumstances indicating that the carrying value of our goodwill might not be recoverable include a significant decline in projections of future cash flows and lower future growth rates in our industry. We review IPR&D for impairment on an annual basis as of July 31 or more frequently if facts and circumstances indicate the fair value is less than the carrying value. If the technology has been determined to be abandoned or not recoverable, we would be required to impair the asset. We review inventory, long-lived assets and project assets for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate the carrying amount may not be recoverable. We consider a project commercially viable and recoverable if it is anticipated to be sellable for a profit, or generates positive cash flows, once it is either fully developed or fully constructed. If our projects are not considered commercially viable, we would be required to impair the respective project assets.

 

We have risks associated with high levels of inventory.

 

The amount of total inventory as of October 31, 2019 and October 31, 2018 was $56.7 million ($2.2 million of which was classified as long-term inventory) and $54.5 million (none of which was classified as long-term inventory), respectively, which includes work in process inventory totaling $31.2 million and $29.1 million, respectively. We reduced our production rate and have been operating at a lower level for a period of time in order to deploy inventory to new projects and mitigate future increases in inventory. In addition, there are risks that our inventory could lose some or all of its value due to technological obsolescence, shifts in market demand or other unexpected changes in industry conditions and circumstances. If we are unable to deploy our current inventory or new inventory consistent with our business plan, we may be required to sell it at a loss, abandon it or recycle it into different products. These actions would result in a significant charge to earnings. Such a charge might have a significant impact on our financial condition and results of operations.

 

Our advanced technologies contracts are subject to the risk of termination by the contracting party and we may not realize the full amounts allocated under some contracts due to the lack of Congressional appropriations.

 

A portion of our fuel cell revenues has been derived from long-term cooperative agreements and other contracts with the U.S. Department of Energy and other U.S. government agencies. These agreements are important to the continued development of our technology and our products. We also contract with private sector companies under certain advanced technologies contracts to develop strategically important and complementary offerings.

 

Generally, our government research and development contracts are subject to the risk of termination at the convenience of the contracting agency. Furthermore, these contracts, irrespective of the amounts allocated by the contracting agency, are subject to annual Congressional appropriations and the results of government or agency sponsored reviews and audits of our cost reduction projections and efforts. We can only receive funds under these contracts ultimately made available to us annually by Congress as a result of the appropriations process. Accordingly, we cannot be sure whether we will receive the full amounts awarded under our government research and development or other contracts. Failure to receive the full amounts under any of our government research and development contracts could materially and adversely affect our business prospects, results of operations and financial condition.

 

Our privately funded advanced technologies contracts are subject to termination at the convenience of the contracting party and contain certain milestones and deliverables. Accordingly, we cannot be sure whether we will receive the full amounts contracted for under privately funded advanced technologies contracts. Termination of these contracts or failure to receive the full amounts under any of these contracts could materially and adversely affect our business prospects, results of operations and financial condition.

 

A negative government audit could result in an adverse adjustment of our revenue and costs and could result in civil and criminal penalties.

 

Government agencies, such as the Defense Contract Audit Agency, routinely audit and investigate government contractors. These agencies review a contractor’s performance under its contracts, cost structure, and compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and standards. If the agencies determine through these audits or reviews that we improperly allocated costs to specific contracts, they will not reimburse us for these costs. Therefore, an audit could result in adjustments to our revenue and costs.

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Further, although we have internal controls in place to oversee our government contracts, no assurance can be given that these controls are sufficient to prevent isolated violations of applicable laws, regulations and standards. If the agencies determine that we or one of our subcontractors engaged in improper conduct, we may be subject to civil or criminal penalties and administrative sanctions, payments, fines, and suspension or prohibition from doing business with the government, any of which could materially affect our results of operations and financial condition.

 

The U.S. government has certain rights relating to our intellectual property, including the right to restrict or take title to certain patents.

 

Multiple U.S. patents that we own have resulted from government-funded research and are subject to the risk of exercise of “march-in” rights by the government. March-in rights refer to the right of the U.S. government or a government agency to exercise its non-exclusive, royalty-free, irrevocable worldwide license to any technology developed under contracts funded by the government if the contractor fails to continue to develop the technology. These “march-in” rights permit the U.S. government to take title to these patents and license the patented technology to third parties if the contractor fails to utilize the patents.

 

Our future success and growth is dependent on our market strategy.

 

We cannot assure you that we will enter into business relationships that are consistent with, or sufficient to support, our commercialization plans and our growth strategy or that these relationships will be on terms favorable to us. Even if we enter into these types of relationships, we cannot assure you that the business associates with whom we form relationships will focus adequate resources on selling our products or will be successful in selling them. Some of these arrangements have required or will require that we grant exclusive rights to certain companies in defined territories. These exclusive arrangements could result in our being unable to enter into other arrangements at a time when the business associate with whom we form a relationship is not successful in selling our products or has reduced its commitment to marketing our products. In addition, future arrangements may also include the issuance of equity and/or warrants to purchase our equity, which may have an adverse effect on our stock price and would dilute our existing stockholders. To the extent we enter into partnerships or other business relationships, the failure of these partners or other business associates to assist us with the deployment of our products may adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

 

We depend on third party suppliers for the development and supply of key raw materials and components for our products.

 

We use various raw materials and components to construct a fuel cell module, including nickel and stainless steel which are critical to our manufacturing process. We also rely on third-party suppliers for the balance-of-plant components in our products. Suppliers must undergo a qualification process, which takes four to twelve months. We continually evaluate new suppliers, and we are currently qualifying several new suppliers. There are a limited number of suppliers for some of the key components of our products. A supplier’s failure to develop and supply components in a timely manner or to supply components that meet our quality, quantity or cost requirements or our technical specifications, or our inability to obtain alternative sources of these components on a timely basis or on terms acceptable to us, could each harm our ability to manufacture our SureSource products. In addition, to the extent the processes that our suppliers use to manufacture components are proprietary, we may be unable to obtain comparable components from alternative suppliers. 

 

Due to our prior constrained liquidity, we previously delayed certain payments to third parties, including our suppliers, to conserve cash. Management entered into forbearance agreements and payment arrangements with certain suppliers. However, suppliers whose payments were delayed may take action against us, including, but not limited to, filing litigation, arbitration or other proceedings against us.

 

We do not know whether we will be able to maintain long-term supply relationships with our critical suppliers, or secure new long-term supply relationships, or whether such relationships will be on terms that will allow us to achieve our objectives. Our business prospects, results of operations and financial condition could be harmed if we fail to secure long-term relationships with entities that will supply the required components for our SureSource products.

 

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We depend on our intellectual property, and our failure to protect that intellectual property could adversely affect our future growth and success.

 

Failure to protect our existing intellectual property rights may result in the loss of our exclusivity or the right to use our technologies. If we do not adequately ensure our freedom to use certain technology, we may have to pay others for rights to use their intellectual property, pay damages for infringement or misappropriation, or be enjoined from using such intellectual property. We rely on patent, trade secret, trademark and copyright law to protect our intellectual property.

 

We have licensed our carbonate fuel cell manufacturing intellectual property to POSCO Energy through a series of manufacturing and technology transfer agreements entered into in 2007, 2009 and 2012, which agreements expire on October 31, 2027, and have provided POSCO Energy with the exclusive right to manufacture, sell, distribute and service our SureSource 300, SureSource 1500 and SureSource 3000 fuel cell technology in Asia. In addition, effective as of June 11, 2019, we entered into the EMRE License Agreement, pursuant to which we agreed, subject to the terms of the EMRE License Agreement, to grant EMRE and its affiliates a non-exclusive, worldwide, fully paid, perpetual, irrevocable, non-transferrable license and right to use our patents, data, know-how, improvements, equipment designs, methods, processes and the like to the extent it is useful to research, develop, and commercially exploit carbonate fuel cells in applications in which the fuel cells concentrate carbon dioxide from industrial and power sources and for any other purpose attendant thereto or associated therewith. Such right and license is sublicensable to third parties performing work for or with EMRE or its affiliates, but shall not otherwise be sublicensable. We depend on POSCO Energy and EMRE to also protect our intellectual property rights as licensed.

 

As of October 31, 2019, we, excluding our subsidiaries, had 95 U.S. patents and 153 patents in other jurisdictions covering our fuel cell technology (in certain cases covering the same technology in multiple jurisdictions), with patents directed to various aspects of our SureSource technology, solid oxide fuel cell (“SOFC”) technology, PEM fuel cell technology and applications thereof. As of October 31, 2019, we also had 62 patent applications pending in the U.S. and 112 patent applications pending in other jurisdictions. Our U.S. patents will expire between 2020 and 2037, and the current average remaining life of our U.S. patents is approximately 8.4 years. Our subsidiary, Versa Power Systems, Ltd., as of October 31, 2019, had 33 U.S. patents and 96 international patents covering the SOFC technology (in certain cases covering the same technology in multiple jurisdictions), with an average remaining U.S. patent life of approximately 5.5 years. As of October 31, 2019, Versa Power Systems, Ltd. also had 1 pending U.S. patent application and 11 patent applications pending in other jurisdictions. In addition, as of October 31, 2019, our subsidiary, FuelCell Energy Solutions, GmbH, had license rights to 2 U.S. patents and 7 patents outside the U.S. for carbonate fuel cell technology licensed from Fraunhofer IKTS.

 

Some of our intellectual property is not covered by any patent or patent application and includes trade secrets and other know-how that is not able to be patented, particularly as it relates to our manufacturing processes and engineering design. In addition, some of our intellectual property includes technologies and processes that may be similar to the patented technologies and processes of third parties. If we are found to be infringing third-party patents, we do not know whether we will be able to obtain licenses to use such patents on acceptable terms, if at all. Our patent position is subject to complex factual and legal issues that may give rise to uncertainty as to the validity, scope, and enforceability of a particular patent.

 

We cannot assure you that any of the U.S. or international patents owned by us or other patents that third parties license to us will not be invalidated, circumvented, challenged, rendered unenforceable or licensed to others, or that any of our pending or future patent applications will be issued with the breadth of claim coverage sought by us, if issued at all. In addition, effective patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret protection may be unavailable, limited or not applied for in certain foreign countries.

 

We also seek to protect our proprietary intellectual property, including intellectual property that may not be patented or able to be patented, in part by confidentiality agreements and, if applicable, inventors’ rights agreements with our subcontractors, vendors, suppliers, consultants, strategic business associates and employees. We cannot assure you that these agreements will not be breached, that we will have adequate remedies for any breach or that such persons or institutions will not assert rights to intellectual property arising out of these relationships. Certain of our intellectual property has been licensed to us on a non-exclusive basis from third parties that may also license such intellectual property to others, including our competitors. If our licensors are found to be infringing third-party patents, we do not know whether we will be able to obtain licenses to use the intellectual property licensed to us on acceptable terms, if at all.

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If necessary or desirable, we may seek extensions of existing licenses or further licenses under the patents or other intellectual property rights of others. However, we can give no assurances that we will obtain such extensions or further licenses or that the terms of any offered licenses will be acceptable to us. The failure to obtain a license from a third party for intellectual property that we use at present could cause us to incur substantial liabilities, and to suspend the manufacture or shipment of products or our use of processes requiring the use of that intellectual property.

 

While we are not currently engaged in any intellectual property litigation, we could become subject to lawsuits in which it is alleged that we have infringed the intellectual property rights of others or commence lawsuits against others who we believe are infringing our rights or violating their agreements to protect our intellectual property. Our involvement in intellectual property litigation could result in significant expense to us, adversely affecting the development of sales of the challenged product or intellectual property and diverting the efforts of our technical and management personnel, whether or not that litigation is resolved in our favor.

 

Our future success will depend on our ability to attract and retain qualified management, technical, and other personnel.

 

Our future success is substantially dependent on the services and performance of our executive officers and other key management, engineering, scientific, manufacturing and operating personnel. The loss of the services of key management, engineering, scientific, manufacturing and operating personnel could materially adversely affect our business. Our ability to achieve our commercialization plans and to increase production at our manufacturing facility in the future will also depend on our ability to attract and retain additional qualified management, technical, manufacturing and operating personnel. Recruiting personnel for the fuel cell industry is competitive. We do not know whether we will be able to attract or retain additional qualified management, technical, manufacturing and operating personnel. Our inability to attract and retain additional qualified management, technical, manufacturing and operating personnel, or the departure of key employees, could materially and adversely affect our development, commercialization and manufacturing plans and, therefore, our business prospects, results of operations and financial condition. In addition, our inability to attract and retain sufficient management, technical, manufacturing and operating personnel to quickly increase production at our manufacturing facility when and if needed to meet increased demand may adversely impact our ability to respond rapidly to any new product, growth or revenue opportunities. Our inability to attract and retain sufficient qualified management, technical, engineering, research, and manufacturing personnel to staff our third party research contracts may result in our inability to complete such contracts or terminations of such contracts, which may adversely impact financial conditions and results of operations.

 

We may be affected by environmental and other governmental regulation.

 

We are subject to various federal, state and local laws and regulations relating to, among other things, land use, safe working conditions, handling and disposal of hazardous and potentially hazardous substances and emissions of carbon dioxide and pollutants into the atmosphere. In addition, it is possible that industry-specific laws and regulations will be adopted covering matters such as transmission scheduling, distribution, emissions, and the characteristics and quality of our products, including installation and servicing. These regulations could limit the growth in the use of carbonate fuel cell products, decrease the acceptance of fuel cells as a commercial product and increase our costs and, therefore, the price of our products. Accordingly, compliance with existing or future laws and regulations could have a material adverse effect on our business prospects, results of operations and financial condition.

 

Utility companies may resist the adoption of distributed generation and could impose customer fees or interconnection requirements on our customers that could make our products less desirable.

 

Investor-owned utilities may resist adoption of distributed generation fuel cell plants as such plants are disruptive to the utility business model that primarily utilizes large central generation power plants and associated transmission and distribution. On-site distributed generation that is on the customer-side of the electric meter competes with the utility. Distributed generation on the utility-side of the meter generally has power output that is significantly less than central generation power plants and may be perceived by the utility as too small to materially impact its business, limiting its interest. Additionally, perceived technology risk may limit utility interest in stationary fuel cell power plants.

 

Utility companies commonly charge fees to larger, industrial customers for disconnecting from the electric grid or for having the capacity to use power from the electric grid for back up purposes. These fees could increase the cost to our customers of using our SureSource products and could make our products less desirable, thereby harming our business prospects, results of operations and financial condition.

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We could be liable for environmental damages resulting from our research, development or manufacturing operations.

 

Our business exposes us to the risk of harmful substances escaping into the environment, resulting in personal injury or loss of life, damage to or destruction of property, and natural resource damage. Depending on the nature of the claim, our current insurance policies may not adequately reimburse us for costs incurred in settling environmental damage claims, and in some instances, we may not be reimbursed at all. Our business is subject to numerous federal, state, and local laws and regulations that govern environmental protection and human health and safety. We believe that our businesses are operating in compliance in all material respects with applicable environmental laws; however, these laws and regulations have changed frequently in the past and it is reasonable to expect additional and more stringent changes in the future.

 

Our operations may not comply with future laws and regulations and we may be required to make significant unanticipated capital and operating expenditures. If we fail to comply with applicable environmental laws and regulations, governmental authorities may seek to impose fines and penalties on us or to revoke or deny the issuance or renewal of operating permits and private parties may seek damages from us. Under those circumstances, we might be required to curtail or cease operations, conduct site remediation or other corrective action, or pay substantial damage claims.

 

Our products use inherently dangerous, flammable fuels, operate at high temperatures and use corrosive carbonate material, each of which could subject our business to product liability claims.

 

Our business exposes us to potential product liability claims that are inherent in products that use hydrogen. Our products utilize fuels such as natural gas and convert these fuels internally to hydrogen that is used by our products to generate electricity. The fuels we use are combustible and may be toxic. In addition, our SureSource products operate at high temperatures and use corrosive carbonate material, which could expose us to potential liability claims. Although we have incorporated a robust design and redundant safety features in our power plants, have established comprehensive safety, maintenance, and training programs, follow third-party certification protocols, codes and standards, and do not store natural gas or hydrogen at our power plants, we cannot guarantee that there will not be accidents. Any accidents involving our products or other hydrogen-using products could materially impede widespread market acceptance and demand for our products. In addition, we might be held responsible for damages beyond the scope of our insurance coverage. We also cannot predict whether we will be able to maintain adequate insurance coverage on acceptable terms.

 

We are subject to risks inherent in international operations.

 

Since we market our products both inside and outside the U.S., our success depends in part on our ability to secure international customers and our ability to manufacture products that meet foreign regulatory and commercial requirements in target markets. Sales to customers located outside the U.S. accounts for a significant portion of our consolidated revenue. Sales to customers in South Korea represent the majority of our international sales. We have limited experience developing and manufacturing our products to comply with the commercial and legal requirements of international markets. In addition, we are subject to tariff regulations and requirements for export licenses, particularly with respect to the export of some of our technologies. We face numerous challenges in our international expansion, including unexpected changes in regulatory requirements and other geopolitical risks, fluctuations in currency exchange rates, longer accounts receivable requirements and collections, greater bonding and security requirements, difficulties in managing international operations, potentially adverse tax consequences, restrictions on repatriation of earnings and the burdens of complying with a wide variety of international laws. Any of these factors could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

 

We source raw materials and parts for our products on a global basis, which subjects us to a number of potential risks, including the impact of export duties and quotas, trade protection measures imposed by the U.S. and other countries including tariffs, potential for labor unrest, changing global and regional economic conditions and current and changing regulatory environments. Changes to these factors may have an adverse effect on our ability to source raw materials and parts in line with our current cost structure.

 

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Although our reporting currency is the U.S. dollar, we conduct our business and incur costs in the local currency of most countries in which we operate. As a result, we are subject to currency translation and transaction risk. Changes in exchange rates between foreign currencies and the U.S. dollar could affect our net sales and cost of sales and could result in exchange gains or losses. We cannot accurately predict the impact of future exchange rate fluctuations on our results of operations.

 

We could also expand our business into new and emerging markets, many of which have an uncertain regulatory environment relating to currency policy. Conducting business in such markets could cause our exposure to changes in exchange rates to increase, due to the relatively high volatility associated with emerging market currencies and potentially longer payment terms for our proceeds. Our ability to hedge foreign currency exposure is dependent on our credit profile with financial institutions that are willing and able to do business with us. Deterioration in our credit position or a significant tightening of the credit market conditions could limit our ability to hedge our foreign currency exposure and, therefore, result in exchange gains or losses.

 

Exports of certain of our products are subject to various export control regulations and may require a license or permission from the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Energy or other agencies.

 

As an exporter, we must comply with various laws and regulations relating to the export of products, services and technology from the U.S. and other countries having jurisdiction over our operations. We are subject to export control laws and regulations, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulation, the Export Administration Regulation, and the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List, which generally prohibit U.S. companies and their intermediaries from exporting certain products, importing materials or supplies, or otherwise doing business with restricted countries, businesses or individuals, and require companies to maintain certain policies and procedures to ensure compliance. We are also subject to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act which prohibits improper payments to foreign governments and their officials by U.S. and other business entities. Under these laws and regulations, U.S. companies may be held liable for their actions and actions taken by their strategic or local partners or representatives. If we, or our intermediaries, fail to comply with the requirements of these laws and regulations, or similar laws of other countries, governmental authorities in the United States or elsewhere, as applicable, could seek to impose civil and/or criminal penalties, which could damage our reputation and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

We are also subject to registration under the U.S. State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (“DDTC”). Due to the nature of certain of our products and technology, we must obtain licenses or authorizations from various U.S. government agencies such as DDTC or the U.S. Department of Energy, before we are permitted to sell such products or license such technology outside of the U.S. We can give no assurance that we will continue to be successful in obtaining the necessary licenses or authorizations or that certain sales will not be prevented or delayed. Any significant impairment of our ability to sell products or license technology outside of the U.S. could negatively impact our results of operations, financial condition or liquidity.

 

We depend on strategic relationships with third parties, and the terms and enforceability of many of these relationships are not certain.

 

We have entered into strategic relationships with third parties for the design, product development, sale and service of our existing products and products under development, some of which may not have been documented by a definitive agreement and others of which may require renewal. The terms and conditions of many of these relationships allow for termination by the third parties. Termination or expiration of any of these relationships could adversely affect our ability to design, develop and distribute these products to the marketplace. We cannot assure you that we will be able to successfully negotiate and execute definitive agreements or renewals with any of these third parties, and failure to do so may effectively terminate the relevant relationship.

 

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We are increasingly dependent on information technology, and disruptions, failures or security breaches of our information technology infrastructure could have a material adverse effect on our operations. In addition, increased information technology security threats and more sophisticated computer crime pose a risk to our systems, networks, products and services.

 

We rely on information technology networks and systems, including the Internet, to process, transmit and store electronic and financial information and to manage a variety of business processes and activities, including communication with power plants owned by us or our customers and production, manufacturing, financial, logistics, sales, marketing and administrative functions. Additionally, we collect and store data that is sensitive to us and to third parties. Operating these information technology networks and systems and processing and maintaining this data, in a secure manner, are critical to our business operations and strategy. We depend on our information technology infrastructure to communicate internally and externally with employees, customers, suppliers and others. We also use information technology networks and systems to comply with regulatory, legal and tax requirements and to operate our fuel cell power plants. These information technology systems, many of which are managed by third parties or used in connection with shared service centers, may be susceptible to damage, disruptions or shutdowns due to failures during the process of upgrading or replacing software, databases or components thereof, power outages, hardware failures, computer viruses, attacks by computer hackers or other cybersecurity risks, telecommunication failures, user errors, natural disasters, terrorist attacks or other catastrophic events. If any of our significant information technology systems suffer severe damage, disruption or shutdown, and our disaster recovery and business continuity plans do not effectively resolve the issues in a timely manner, our product sales, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected, and we could experience delays in reporting our financial results, or our fuel cell power plant operations may be disrupted, exposing us to performance penalties under our contracts with customers.

 

In addition, information technology security threats — from user error to cybersecurity attacks designed to gain unauthorized access to our systems, networks and data — are increasing in frequency and sophistication. Cybersecurity attacks may range from random attempts to coordinated and targeted attacks, including sophisticated computer crime and advanced persistent threats. These threats pose a risk to the security of our systems and networks and the confidentiality, availability and integrity of our data. Cybersecurity attacks could also include attacks targeting customer data or the security, integrity and/or reliability of the hardware and software installed in our products. We have experienced, and may continue to experience in the future, cybersecurity attacks that have resulted in unauthorized parties gaining access to our information technology systems and networks and, in one instance, gaining control of the information technology system at one of our power plants. However, to date, no cybersecurity attack has resulted in any material loss of data, interrupted our day-to-day operations or had a material impact on our financial condition, results of operations or liquidity. While we actively manage information technology security risks within our control, there can be no assurance that such actions will be sufficient to mitigate all potential risks to our systems, networks and data. In addition to the direct potential financial risk as we continue to build, own and operate generation assets, other potential consequences of a material cybersecurity attack include reputational damage, litigation with third parties, disruption to systems, unauthorized release of confidential or otherwise protected information, corruption of data, diminution in the value of our investment in research, development and engineering, and increased cybersecurity protection and remediation costs, which in turn could adversely affect our competitiveness, results of operations and financial condition. The amount of insurance coverage we maintain may be inadequate to cover claims or liabilities relating to a cybersecurity attack.

 

Litigation could expose us to significant costs and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

 

We are, or may become, party to various lawsuits and claims arising in the ordinary course of business, which may include lawsuits or claims relating to commercial liability, product recalls, product liability, product claims, employment matters, environmental matters, breach of contract, or other aspects of our business. Litigation is inherently unpredictable, and although we may believe we have meaningful defenses in these matters, we may incur judgments or enter into settlements of claims that could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations. The costs of responding to or defending litigation may be significant and may divert the attention of management away from our strategic objectives. There may also be adverse publicity associated with litigation that may decrease customer confidence in our business, regardless of whether the allegations are valid or whether we are ultimately found liable. As a result, litigation may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

 

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Our results of operations could vary as a result of changes to our accounting policies or the methods, estimates and judgments we use in applying our accounting policies.

 

The methods, estimates and judgments we use in applying our accounting policies have a significant impact on our results of operations. Such methods, estimates and judgments are, by their nature, subject to substantial risks, uncertainties and assumptions, and factors may arise over time that could lead us to reevaluate our methods, estimates and judgments.

 

In future periods, management will continue to reevaluate its estimates for contract margins, service agreements, loss accruals, warranty, performance guarantees, liquidated damages and inventory valuation allowances. Changes in those estimates and judgments could significantly affect our results of operations and financial condition. We will also adopt changes required by the Financial Accounting Standards Board and the SEC.

 

Our stock price has been and could remain volatile.

 

The market price for our common stock has been and may continue to be volatile and subject to extreme price and volume fluctuations in response to market and other factors, including the following, some of which are beyond our control:

 

failure to meet commercialization milestones;

 

failure to win contracts through competitive bidding processes;

 

the loss of a major customer or a contract;

 

variations in our quarterly operating results from the expectations of securities analysts or investors;

 

downward revisions in securities analysts’ estimates or changes in general market conditions;

 

changes in the securities analysts that cover us or failure to regularly publish reports;

 

announcements of technological innovations or new products or services by us or our competitors;

 

announcements by us or our competitors of significant acquisitions, strategic partnerships, joint ventures or capital commitments;

 

additions or departures of key personnel;

 

investor perception of our industry or our prospects;

 

insider selling or buying;

 

demand for our common stock;

 

dilution from issuances of common stock;

 

general market trends or preferences for non-fueled resources;

 

general technological or economic trends; and

 

changes in United States or foreign political environment and the passage of laws, including, tax, environmental or other laws, affecting the product development business.

 

In the past, following periods of volatility in the market price of their stock, many companies have been the subject of securities class action litigation. If we became involved in securities class action litigation in the future, it could result in substantial costs and diversion of management’s attention and resources and could harm our stock price, business prospects, results of operations and financial condition.

 

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Provisions of Delaware and Connecticut law and of our certificate of incorporation and by-laws and our outstanding securities may make a takeover more difficult.

 

Provisions in our Certificate of Incorporation, as amended (“Certificate of Incorporation”), and Amended and Restated By-Laws (“By-Laws”) and in Delaware and Connecticut corporate law may make it difficult and expensive for a third-party to pursue a tender offer, change in control or takeover attempt that is opposed by our management and board of directors. In addition, certain provisions of the Class A Cumulative Redeemable Exchangeable Preferred Shares issued by FCE FuelCell Energy Ltd. (the “Series 1 Preferred Shares”) and our Series B Preferred Shares could make it more difficult or more expensive for a third party to acquire us. Public stockholders who might desire to participate in such a transaction may not have an opportunity to do so. These anti-takeover provisions could substantially impede the ability of public stockholders to benefit from a change in control or change in our management and board of directors.

 

Our By-Laws provide that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware is the exclusive forum for substantially all disputes between us and our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a judicial forum deemed favorable by the stockholder for disputes with us or our directors, officers or employees.

 

Our By-Laws provide that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware is the exclusive forum for any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, any action asserting a breach of fiduciary duty, any action asserting a claim against us arising pursuant to the Delaware General Corporation Law, our Certificate of Incorporation or our By-Laws, any action to interpret, apply, enforce, or determine the validity of our Certificate of Incorporation or By-Laws, or any action asserting a claim against us that is governed by the internal affairs doctrine. The choice of forum provision may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that the stockholder finds favorable for disputes against us or our directors, officers or other employees, which may discourage such lawsuits against us and our directors, officers and other employees. Alternatively, if a court were to find the choice of forum provision contained in our By-Laws to be inapplicable or unenforceable in an action, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such action in other jurisdictions, which could adversely affect our business and financial condition.

 

The implementation of our business plan and strategy will require additional capital.

 

The implementation of our business plan and strategy requires additional capital to fund operations as well as investment by us in project assets. If we are unable to raise additional capital in the amounts required, or at all, we will not be able to successfully implement our business plan and strategy. There can be no guarantee that we will be able to raise such additional capital at the times required or in the amounts required for the implementation of our business plan and strategy. In addition, the recent change to a more capital-intensive business model increases the risks of our being able to successfully implement our plans, if we do not raise additional capital in the amounts required. If we are unable to raise additional capital, our business, operations and prospects could be materially and adversely affected.

 

We will need to raise additional capital, and such capital may not be available on acceptable terms, if at all. If we do raise additional capital utilizing equity, existing stockholders will suffer dilution. If we do not raise additional capital, our business could fail or be materially and adversely affected.

 

We will need to raise additional funds in debt and equity financings, and these funds may not be available to us when we need them or on acceptable terms, if at all. Such additional financings could be significant. If we raise additional funds through further issuances of our common stock, or securities convertible or exchangeable into shares of our common stock, into the public market, including shares of our common stock issued upon exercise of options or warrants, holders of our common stock could suffer significant dilution, and any new equity securities we issue could have rights, preferences and privileges superior to those of our then-existing capital stock. Any debt financing secured by us in the future could involve restrictive covenants relating to our capital raising activities and other financial and operational matters, which may make it more difficult for us to obtain additional capital and to pursue business opportunities. If we cannot raise additional funds when we need them, our business and prospects could fail or be materially and adversely affected. In addition, if additional funds are not secured in the future, we will have to modify, reduce, defer or eliminate parts of our present and anticipated future projects.

 

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Future sales of substantial amounts of our common stock could affect the market price of our common stock.

 

Future sales of substantial amounts of our common stock, or securities convertible or exchangeable into shares of our common stock, into the public market, including shares of our common stock issued upon exercise of options or warrants, or perceptions that those sales could occur, could adversely affect the prevailing market price of our common stock and our ability to raise capital in the future.

 

We may be subject to actions for rescission or damages or other penalties in connection with certain sales of shares of our common stock in the open market.

 

Between August 2005 and April 2017, we sold shares of our common stock pursuant to a series of “at-the-market” sales plans. The shares sold pursuant to these sales plans represented a portion of the shares registered by us pursuant to shelf registration statements we filed with the SEC during this time period. While we reported the actual shares sold and proceeds, net of fees, of sales made during each fiscal quarter pursuant to the sales plans in our annual and quarterly reports on Forms 10-K and 10-Q, we did not file or deliver prospectus supplements at the time of or prior to making these sales. Accordingly, these sales may not have been in compliance with applicable federal and/or state securities laws, and the purchasers of such shares may have rescission rights or claims for damages. In addition, to the extent that these sales were not in compliance with applicable federal and/or state securities laws, we may be subject to penalties imposed by the SEC and/or state securities agencies. We have reported these sales to the SEC, and in response to our report, the SEC has opened an informal investigation of these sales. If purchasers successfully seek rescission and/or damages, and/or the SEC and/or state securities agencies impose financial penalties on us which are not covered by insurance, we may not have sufficient resources to make the necessary payments, and any such claims, damages or penalties could have a material adverse effect on our stock price, business prospects, results of operations, and financial condition. Although we believe we would have defenses to such claims or actions if brought, we are unable to predict the amount of any damages or financial penalties which could be sought against us, or the extent to which any such financial exposure would be covered by insurance.  However, we believe the likelihood of any claims or actions being brought against us is remote.

The situation with POSCO Energy has limited and continues to limit our efforts to access the South Korean and Asian markets and could expose us to costs of arbitration or litigation proceedings.

From approximately 2007 through 2015, we relied on POSCO Energy to develop and grow the South Korean and Asian markets for our products and services. We entered into manufacturing and technology transfer agreements with POSCO Energy in 2007, 2009 and 2012, each of which expires on October 31, 2027. The Cell Technology Transfer Ag