Friday, October 7, 2011

Ballard's Fuel Cell system wins innovation award and fuels several large zero-emission electricity production plants

Ballard has been researching fuel cells for over 10 years and for a long time was focusing on fuel cell powered cars and busses.  It's nice to see them developing utility scale fuel cell systems because honestly that's the best place for fuel cells to be used, in stationary electricity production systems rather than mobile ones like on a car.

What they're describing is way cool - using hydrogen in a fuel cell to produce power, and then make secondary use of the heat produced in the fuel cell to generate steam or heat in buildings or industrial processes.

The only real concern is the source of the hydrogen to run the fuel cell.  Often hydrogen is extracted from natural gas using a steam reforming system.  Hydrogen extracted from a fossil fuel is hardly a good idea, right?  But that's what is often done.  In the three projects listed below the hydrogen source is identified in two:- "byproduct hydrogen" at a "bleach plant", and "steam reformation of biogas coming from a landfill" (e.g. methane).  Both of those are way cool hydrogen sources though in actuality I wonder about whether it's better to just burn the methane rather than go through the steam reformation to get hydrogen to run a fuel cell.

In any case the third project, at a First Energy power plant near Cleveland, it isn't so clear what the hydrogen source is.  Given that it's at a power plant there would be plenty of natural gas on hand to reform and extract the hydrogen.  Sigh.



Ballard CLEARgen(TM) Fuel Cell System Wins Innovation Award; Seen As Leader in DG Market

VANCOUVER, Oct. 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Ballard Power Systems (TSX: BLD) (NASDAQ: BLDP) announced that it is the recipient of Frost & Sullivan's "2011 New Product Innovation Award" in the North American Stationary Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) Fuel Cell category for the Company's unique CLEARgen(TM) multi-megawatt distributed power generation system.

"This award recognizes Ballard's technological leadership and strong market position in the commercialization of PEM fuel cells for distributed energy generation," said Tomasz Kaminski, Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst. "Ballard's solution surpasses the competition in terms of fuel cell durability, product cost and load-following capability, all keys to commercially viable grid-scale solutions."

The New Product Innovation Award is presented to the company that has excelled relative to the following criteria: innovative elements of the product; leveraging leading edge technologies in the product; value added features/benefits of the product; increased customer ROI; and customer acquisition/penetration potential.

John Sheridan, Ballard President and CEO said, "With the CLEARgen(TM) system, our customers can produce clean, reliable power and reduce their demand for grid electricity. This can create significant cost savings, while simultaneously reducing customers' environmental footprint."

Powered by Ballard's proprietary FCgen(TM)-1300 proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells, the CLEARgen(TM) system is a complete solution designed to generate clean energy from hydrogen. Modular 500 kilowatt (kW) PowerBanks are combined to produce multiple megawatts (MW's) of zero-emission electricity, with heat created by the system also providing the opportunity for hot water and space heating. The system can operate continuously to meet baseload power needs, or intermittently to provide peak power during times of high demand.

Ballard's early work with CLEARgen(TM) has led to a number of notable contracts, including:

  • A 1MW CLEARgen(TM) system, the largest PEM fuel cell system in North America, has been installed at FirstEnergy Corp.'s Eastlake plant, near Cleveland, Ohio for use in a utility load management demonstration project.  FirstEnergy Corp. activates the hydrogen-fuelled generator during periods of peak demand, taking strain off the power grid and ensuring uninterrupted power to customers. Results during the first year of operation have been positive.
  • Next year, K2 Pure Solutions will deploy a CLEARgen(TM) system at its bleach plant in Pittsburg, California. The system will convert by-product hydrogen into clean load-following electricity that will partially offset power demand at the state-of-the-art facility.
  • Also in 2012, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc. will site a 1MW CLEARgen(TM) system at its sales and marketing headquarters in Torrance, California. The system will provide peak electrical power and heat to a number of locations on Toyota's multi-building campus, utilizing hydrogen produced by steam-reformation of renewable bio-gas generated at a landfill.

Commercialization of the CLEARgen(TM) system is being supported by extending operating life and lowering product cost through a project funded by Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), an arm's-length, not-for-profit corporation created by the Government of Canada.

Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.

About Ballard Power Systems

Ballard Power Systems (TSX: BLD) (NASDAQ: BLDP) provides clean energy fuel cell products enabling optimized power systems for a range of applications. Products are based on proprietary esencia(TM) technology, ensuring incomparable performance, durability and versatility. To learn more about Ballard, please visit

About Frost & Sullivan

Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, enables clients to accelerate growth and achieve best-in-class positions in growth, innovation and leadership. The company's Growth Partnership Service provides the CEO and the CEO's Growth Team with disciplined research and best-practice models to drive the generation, evaluation and implementation of powerful growth strategies. Frost & Sullivan leverages 50 years of experience in partnering with Global 1000 companies, emerging businesses and the investment community from more than 40 offices on six continents. To join our Growth Partnership, please visit

SOURCE  Frost & Sullivan
CONTACT: Public Relations: Guy McAree, +1-604-412-7919,; Investor Relations: Lori Rozali, +1-604-412-3195,
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