FuelCell Energy resumes manufacturing at Connecticut plant

By Erin Voegele | June 23, 2020

FuelCell Energy Inc. announced on June 22 it has resumed manufacturing at its Torrington, Connecticut, facility, which temporarily suspended manufacturing activities on March 18 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company also noted construction is underway on a California biogas project.

FuelCell Energy said the Torrington shutdown was a proactive and voluntary measure it took to protect the safety of its employees and the communities in which its employees live. All team members affected by the temporary shutdown remained employed and received full pay and benefits for the duration of the temporary shutdown.

The company said it was able to continue research and development work by implementing work from home practices and continuing limited laboratory activity and fuel cell platform construction and operations services. Over the past three months, FuelCell Energy said it also made progress on the construction of a 7.4 megawatt (MW) fuel cell project located on the U.S. Navy submarine base in Groton, Connecticut. In addition, on-site construction commenced on a 1.4 MW fuel cell platform under development in San Bernardino, California.

“FuelCell Energy prioritizes the health and well-being of our global team members, their families and their communities,” said Jason Few, president and CEO of FuelCell Energy. “We acted quickly, and took proactive steps with a safety-first attitude. We are prepared to reopen the Torrington facility and we have implemented the same safety-first approach to the reopening of our manufacturing operations. Extensive work has gone into preparing our facility, including implementation of spacing of shop floor activities to the extent possible, safety protocols, supply and access to personal protective equipment, and other critical social distancing and disinfecting protocols.”

“We maintained an open dialogue with our global team during this unprecedented time, including hosting a weekly all-employee video call and providing video training concerning changes to operations related to the resumption of manufacturing activities,” Few continued.

FuelCell Energy officials discussed the development of several projects, including the San Bernardino biofuels project, during a fiscal second quarter earnings call held on June 12.

During that call, Few said FuelCell Energy began site construction of the 1.4 MW SureSource 1500 biofuel project with the city of San Bernardino Municipal Water Department in April. The project is expected to be commercially operational by the end of the year. “This project provides yet another operating example of the power of our multi-fuel platform, our proprietary gas cleanup system, and the unique position our SureSource platform occupies as the only CARB DG certified distributed generation solution operating on anaerobic digester gas,” he continued.

FuelCell Energy reported $18.9 million in revenue for the fiscal second quarter, which ended April 30, up from $9.2 million during the same period of last year. Loss from operations was $8.1 million, compared to a loss of $17.6 million. Net loss decreased to $14.8 million, down from a net loss of $19.5 million. Adjusted EBITDA was negative $3.3 million, down from negative $14.5 million during the second quarter of 2019. Gross profit was $200,000, compared to a gross loss of $3.6 million.