These startups are driving innovation to make fuel cells cheaper and more efficient, and could be the industry's next acquisition targets.
New materials and manufacturing methods are making fuel cells — devices that use hydrogen and other chemicals to generate clean energy — cheaper to manufacture and more efficient to use. OEMs like Faurecia and large industrials companies like Plastic Omnium are buying up fuel cell companies that provide a clean, affordable energy source.
Notably, 7 of the 10 fuel cells companies acquired since 2012 raised little or no outside funding. M&A of companies with little to no funding likely reflects larger companies’ efforts to drive their own fuel cell development, rather than a play for new business lines with established revenue.
Part of the revived enthusiasm for the space is due to Bloom Energy, which might be considered a bellwether for the fuel cell industry. Bloom first received funding in 2002, and, after several years of back-and-forth over its profitability, announced earlier this year that it was again close to filing the initial public offering that it has been mulling over for years.
Meanwhile, fuel cells have benefited from government tax credits as well as increased adoption from data center operators.
We used the CB Insights database to pinpoint 6 companies that are finding ways to make fuel cells more affordable and efficient. They were selected based on stage, industry, valuation, recency of funding, investor quality, and Mosaic Score — CB Insights’ algorithm that uses financial and non-financial signals to predict private company health.