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:
Launch of our New Telecom Backup Power Fuel Cell System
Interview with Tony Cochrane, Director - Product Management
As part of Ballard’s ongoing product improvement program, a new ElectraGen™-ME system for telecom backup power has been released with enhanced product features. These upgrades focus on three main areas - reliability, durability and maintenance and servicing.
Interviewer: Why are ElectraGen™ shipments growing so quickly?
Mr. Cochrane: We are certainly experiencing rapid growth in the telecom backup power market, particularly with the ElectraGen™-ME, our methanol-fuelled product. Of course, when the electric grid goes down, telecom companies do not want their service to subscribers to be disrupted – that becomes a major problem very rapidly. There are really two specific power outage situations that are driving the need for reliable backup power systems. The first are regular power outages that result from unreliable electric grids – these can even be daily outages in some places. The second is concern over potential grid power outages that can result from crisis situations, such as extreme weather, for instance.
Q: Can you give a few examples?
A: Certainly. Regular power outages stemming from unreliable grids are commonly found in economies in Asia, Africa and Latin America, for example. And indeed, we are shipping considerable product volume to South Africa and Indonesia.
In terms of crisis situations, just a few months ago when Hurricane Sandy roared through the Caribbean, our backup power systems in the Bahamas performed flawlessly – a great proof point regarding the reliability of our products. We are also shipping a large number of systems to NSN in Japan, where concern over potential tsunamis is very real.
Webinar: Hurricane Sandy and Commercially Tested Fuel Cell Backup Power Solutions
Ballard recently sponsored a webinar event featuring presentations by two experts on the topic: Kyla Reid, Head of the Disaster Response Programme at GSMA; and Lennox McCartney, President of Precision Power and Air Bahamas.
Lennox McCartney then presented a case study based on the impact of Hurricane Sandy in the Bahamas, where fuel cell generators proved 100% reliable in providing backup power to the mobile telecom network when residents needed it most. A total of 17 fuel cell backup power systems provided 700 hours of power over a 7-day period during and after the storm, producing more than 1,200 kilowatt-hours of electricity.
South African Government Supports Ballard and Anglo American Platinum Fuel Cell Systems Deployment
As part of its beneficiation strategy and the drive to improve on the uses of platinum, the South African Government, through its funding institutions, has partnered with Ballard Power Systems and Anglo American Platinum with initial field trials of a new methanol-fuelled ‘Home Generator’ prototype product.
The new methanol-fuelled ‘Home Generator’ prototype product is designed for use in off-grid residential applications. The product encompasses a complete fuel cell system, including fuel cell stack, methanol fuel processor and other components needed to meet the market requirements of rural electrification within a local mini-grid. The Home Generator product is being developed as a means of addressing the many African households in rural communities that are currently unable to economically access the grid as a result of distance or terrain.
Work to date has included a market feasibility study, testing of a proof-of-concept system based on existing technology and initial work on a prototype system. Systems deployed in initial field trials during 2014 will provide valuable data to support further development of the prototype systems. Upon successful completion of the product development phase, plans are to proceed to a pilot test of more than two hundred units in villages across rural South Africa in 2015.
Watch Ballard's Latest Corporate Video
Ballard’s brief new video showcases the key strengths of our company, including unsurpassed skill sets in fuel cell science, engineering and manufacturing, as well as world-class test and production facilities. Watch this video to learn how Ballard is putting fuel cells to work in unique clean energy solutions today.
Visit Ballard's YouTube Channel where Mandarin and Japanese translations of the video are also available.
Work at Ballard is progressing rapidly against a major Engineering Services contract with Volkswagen AG to advance the automaker’s fuel cell automotive research program. Teams are pursuing parallel goals to support the current fleet of Volkswagen HyMotion demonstration cars, as well as designing and manufacturing next generation fuel cell technology.
Progress in the Fuel Cell Material Handling Market
BMW Manufacturing Expands Use of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Forklift Fleet
BMW Manufacturing has successfully expanded the company's hydrogen fuel-cell material handling equipment across its 4.0 million square foot production facility in Spartanburg, South Carolina. In 2010, BMW completed the installation of a hydrogen storage and distribution area near the plant's Energy Center to power about 100 pieces of fuel cell material handling equipment supplied by Plug Power. Since that time, the company has more than doubled its hydrogen-fuel cell fleet to approximately 230 units to service the entire plant's production and logistics functions. These forklift trucks contain GenDriveTM systems,manufactured by Plug Power and utilizing Ballard fuel cell stacks as the primary power source. Watch this video to see footage of the forklifts in action.
Plug Power Extends GenDriveTM Product Line
Plug Power recently announced an extention to its product line with the introduction of the GenDriveTM 1900, the industry's highest capacity fuel cell system for material handling applications.
The GenDriveTM 1900 is designed as a drop-in replacement for lead-acid batteries on six-ton capacity, four-wheel, class-one counterbalanced forklift trucks. Six-ton forklift trucks are among the most popular large-capacity forklift trucks in use. With this new offering in its product line, Plug Power now provides a complete solution that spans all class-one forklift trucks, as well as class-two and three trucks. This important extension allows customers to fully convert to a hydrogen powered forklift fleet. The new GenDriveTM 1900 will start customer trials in the third quarter of 2013.
Plug Power is the leading hydrogen fuel cell supplier for material handling operations in North America, holding 85 percent market share. And Ballard Power Systems is the exclusive supplier of fuel cell stacks for Plug Power’s full suite of GenDriveTM power units.