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Posts tagged: ReLiON Inc.

Why did promising ReliOn only sell for $4 million? Fuel cell firms are struggling

Unless Spokane-based hydrogen fuel cell company ReliOn could land a big investment or find a buyer, its chances of riding out 2014 looked bleak, its former chief executive officer said this week.

So to keep the company operating, ReliOn’s investors agreed to sell the company to New York-based fuel cell maker Plug Power Inc.

“The advantage for us is that we’re now part of a larger company,” said Gary Flood, who became CEO of ReliOn nine years ago. With the sale, he’s no longer in charge but is still ReliOn president.

The company faced challenges widespread across the fuel cell industry, Flood said. Companies have generally focused on one niche area, with the result that they incur significant operating expenses without generating enough cash to be self-sustaining, he said.

ReliOn’s niche has been designing and selling stationary backup power systems. Plug Power has been selling power units for companies that use vehicles to haul equipment and materials.
Discussions that started earlier this year led to this week’s announcement that Plug Power was gaining ReliOn’s customers, patents and inventory for $4 million.

That sale price wasn’t as high as ReliOn’s investors were hoping to get, Flood said.

“Unfortunately, you’re worth what you’re worth,” Flood said, noting that the buyout essentially wiped away ReliOn’s outstanding debt.
Plug Power, launched in 1997 and traded on the Nasdaq, still hasn’t had a profitable year for the same reasons faced by ReliOn, Flood noted.

San Diego Albertsons store to generate clean power through fuel cells

A while back Bert Caldwell discussed in a column the concerns among regional power producers if California adopts or doesn’t adopt significant energy-generation measures.

We think this item, about a San Diego Albertson’s, is interesting and worth  reading, for a few reasons. One, we do have Albertsons in this area. We don’t see this happening soon in Eastern Washington, but since ReliON, based in Spokane, produces fuel cells, perhaps it’s not that far a reach.


Boise, Idaho-based grocery chain Albertsons is slated to open a new store in San Diego’s Clairemont community that will be one of the first in California to generate nearly 90 percent of its electricity from fuel cell technology. Using a 400-kilowatt fuel cell from UTC Power, a United Technologies Corp., the 55,000-sq.-ft. green Albertsons store will officially open on Sept. 1.


“When it comes to minimizing our environmental footprint, the Clairemont store is a tremendous achievement for us,” noted Rick Crandall, Albertsons’ director of environmental stewardship.

“With the assistance of UTC Power’s fuel cell, it’s our first store that significantly reduces its burden on the power grid.”

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The Spokesman-Review business team follows economic development in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.

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Alison Boggs (@alisonboggs) Online Producer Alison Boggs posts and manages content on and its social networking accounts.

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Scott Maben Scott Maben is a Deputy City Editor who covers North Idaho news and higher education.

Addy Hatch is the city editor, and formerly was business editor.

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