Ballard Predicts Commercially Viable Fuel Cell Stacks by 2010

Ballard said a 2010 demonstration will show that its technology has the following characteristics: 5,000 hours of lifetime; an ability to start at -30 degrees C; volumetric power density of 2,500 watts net per litre; and a cost of $30 US per net kilowatt at a volume of 500,000 units.

Published: 31-Mar-2005

ard Power Systems has committed to offering commercially viable fuel cell stack technology for hydrogen-powered vehicles by 2010, the company said Tuesday.

 
Ballard, which has spent hundreds of millions of dollars over the years trying to develop the zero-emission technology, released what it calls a "road map" on when its fuel cells will be ready for wide deployment into the automotive industry.
 
It dubbed the road map -- which sets targets for how much the technology will cost and how it will perform -- as "a course to the post-oil hydrogen future."
 
Ballard said it made the commitment to coincide with the start of the upcoming National Hydrogen Association's Annual Hydrogen Conference in Washington, D.C., which will examine clean-engine technology trends and targets for fuel cell stack durability, cost and other matters.
 
"Ever since Ballard stack technology was first introduced into a customer vehicle demonstration in 1993, timing of commercial fuel cell deployment has been the number one question for consumers, investors and policymakers," said Ballard president and CEO Dennis Campbell.
 
"With today's release of our Technology 'Road Map', we're making a public commitment that Ballard will demonstrate the commercial viability of automotive fuel cell stack technology by 2010."
 
The road map fulfills a commitment announced by the company in February.
 
Ballard said it needed to release the report to demonstrate to the U.S. Department of Energy how it plans to achieve successful commercialization of automotive fuel cell technology.
 
Even though fuel cells might provide a solution to an industry facing increasing demands to reduce emissions, such technology is about a decade behind "hybrids" used in such vehicles as the Toyota Prius. Hybrid engines have low emissions but burn fuel using current technology: the internal combustion engine.
 
About 88,000 hybrids were sold in the United States last year, according to J.D. Power and Associates, which recently projected that hybrid sales will more than double to about 220,000 this year.
 
Ballard sees hybrids as a bridge to an ultimate fuel cell future.
 
Ballard said its road map "will serve as a yardstick" for measuring Ballard's progress over the next five years. Investors have been waiting years to reap the financial rewards for their investments in the technology being offered by Ballard, which has lost $450 million US in the last three years alone.
 
Ballard said a 2010 demonstration will show that its technology has the following characteristics: 5,000 hours of lifetime; an ability to start at -30 degrees C; volumetric power density of 2,500 watts net per litre; and a cost of $30 US per net kilowatt at a volume of 500,000 units.
 
"Our targets are aggressive, but achievable," Campbell said. "By laying out our detailed five-year technology plans, Ballard is again demonstrating its commitment to setting the standard and leading the way to proton exchange membrane fuel cell commercialization."
 
Ballard noted that earlier this month, U.S. Senators Byron Dorgan and Lindsay Graham introduced the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Act of 2005. It's a 10-year initiative aimed at accelerating programs for widespread commercialization and adoption of hydrogen and fuel cell technology.
 
Also this month, Rep. Nancy Johnson introduced a second piece of legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that calls for a five-year investment tax credit to lower the procurement cost of non-vehicular fuel cells.

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