Welcome to this issue of The Fuel Cell Advantage, where you’ll find the latest on how we are putting fuel cells to work in commercial applications everyday.
In this issue:
Growing Momentum in South African Fuel Cell Industry
Interview with Karim Kassam, Director, Business Development
South Africa is playing an active role in the development of the hydrogen and fuel cell industry in order to generate additional value from platinum group metals. To find out more, we interviewed Karim Kassam, Ballard’s Director of Business Development.
Interviewer: Why is there so much interest in the fuel cell industry in South Africa?
Mr. Kassam: South Africa holds 75% of the world’s supply of platinum and is keen to maximize value from this important national resource. Hydrogen fuel cells using platinum catalyst have the potential to drive development of a new industrial sector in South Africa and provide the country with the opportunity to become a major player in the global green economy. Fuel cells could simultaneously help to meet South Africa’s existing energy security challenges and provide rural communities with energy, without any major expansion to the national electricity grid.
Q: What steps has the country taken to develop the industry?
A: Under its “National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Research, Development and Innovation Strategy” or HySA Strategy, the South African government has established a series of public-private partnerships to advance the industry. A US$11-million fund is being used by government and business in South Africa to create real applications for fuel cells.
Q: What role is Ballard playing in these market development activities?
Hurricane Sandy Puts Spotlight on Backup Power for Telecom
In the United States, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has announced plans for nationwide hearings in 2013 to facilitate a dialogue around ideas and actions to ensure the resilience of communications networks, saying “…I urge all stakeholders to engage constructively in the period ahead”. Read more
During Hurricane Sandy, Ballard’s fuel cells systems were 100% reliable in maintaining network power. The ElectraGen™-ME methanol fuel cell systems installed on BTC’s network in the Bahamas performed exactly as designed, providing critical electricity to maintain service when people needed it most. Read this case study to learn more.
Repeat Customers for Fuel Cell Powered Forklifts
Many companies are becoming repeat fuel cell customers, purchasing additional systems after experiencing benefits and savings. “The Business Case for Fuel Cells 2012”, published by Breakthrough Technologies Institute, profiles a select group of these nationally recognizable companies with multiple fuel cell forklift deployments.
Included in this group is Walmart Canada, which has a fleet of 95 hydrogen fuel cell powered forklifts at its Balzac perishable food distribution centre. The Plug Power GenDrive® fleet improves the productivity of the warehouse and is projected to save $1.1 million over seven years, compared to using battery-powered forklifts. Based on the success of this initial deployment, Walmart placed additional orders and now has more than 500 fuel cell forklifts operating in three warehouses. Learn more in this case study.
Toyota Powers Up 1.1MW ClearGenTM System
In October, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. activated a new 1.1-megawatt ClearGen™ hydrogen fuel cell generator at its Torrance, California headquarters campus. The fuel cell will supply approximately half of the electricity for six buildings during peak demand, while producing zero emissions. Designed and built by Ballard, the stationary fuel cell system is the largest proton exchange membrane unit of its kind in the world. Electricity generated by the fuel cell is expected to save Toyota approximately $130,000 a year in reduced energy purchased from Southern California Edison. Read more
With over 3,000 GenDrive® units now shipped to material handling customers, Plug Power’s expertise in siting, installing and commissioning fuel cell forklift fleets is growing. Stihl Inc. recently acquired 75 Plug Power GenDrive® systems for its site in Norfolk, Virgina. The order from Stihl, placed in the first quarter of 2012, was delivered in less than six months, including the installation of the hydrogen fuelling infrastructure. This is a significant improvement over the average nine to twelve month leadtime.
Plug Power’s full suite of solutions, powered by Ballard's fuel cell stacks, have replaced lead-acid batteries in Stihl’s fleet of Class-1, -2 and -3 Crown forklifts. By using GenDrive®, Stihl can increase productivity of the fleet because the fuel cells run at a constant speed for the entire shift, eliminating battery droop. The deployment will serve as a benchmark for future conversions to fuel cell-powered forklifts at the company's European facilities.