December 2012

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
• Hurricane Sandy Puts Spotlight on Backup Power For Telecom
• Repeat Customers for Fuel Cell Powered Forklifts
• Recent Ballard Product Installations
• Upcoming Event

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?

A:  Ballard has partnered with Anglo American Platinum, the world’s leading primary producer of platinum group metals, on a variety of projects including fuel cell powered underground mining locomotives and a 150 kilowatt stationary fuel cell system that was demonstrated at COP17, a high level UN summit on climate change. And most recently, the companies have teamed up to develop a methanol fuelled ‘home generator’ product. Ballard’s engineering team is now completing initial work on a prototype system.



Hurricane Sandy Puts Spotlight on Backup Power for Telecom

The impact of Hurricane Sandy has heightened discussion around the importance of maintaining communication networks, especially in disaster situations. Ensuring the stability of these critical networks depends in large part on an adequate backup power supply.

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.

Hurricane Sandy: Facts & Figures 
  • Hurricane Sandy swept through the Caribbean and up the East Coast of the United States in late October 2012
  • Maximum sustained winds reached 74 mph (119 kph)
  • A full moon made high tides 20% higher than normal and amplified Sandy's storm surge
  • More than 8.1 million homes and businesses on the East Coast of the United States were without power
  • Total damage is expected to be in the billions of dollars

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.

Recent Deployments

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

Material Handling Fleet Installed in Record Time at Stihl

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.

Ballard Receives Deloitte Technology Green 15TM Award

In November, Ballard was the recipient of a 2012 Canadian Technology Green 15™ award from Deloitte. The annual award recognizes Canada's leading GreenTech companies for technology solutions that reduce environmental impacts while improving operational performance and productivity.

Deloitte’s website to learn more about the Technology Green 15™ program.
     Upcoming Event

 FC Expo 2013
 Feb 27 - Mar 1
 Tokyo, Japan
read more

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