New Industry Products

Ballard Launches Enhanced Air-Cooled Fuel Cell Stack for Commercial Market Applications

April 16, 2013 by Jeff Shepard

Ballard Power Systems, Inc. has announced the launch of the next generation FCgen™-1020ACS product, a widely deployed clean energy fuel cell stack. The product now boasts a number of enhancements designed to increase durability and lifetime, important benefits for the growing telecom backup power and material handling commercial markets. The FCgen-1020ACS, an air-cooled fuel cell stack, was originally designed for integration into a complete system to provide short duration telecom backup power capability in the event of electrical grid failure. In addition, Ballard recognized the product's ability to service other market segments, including extended duration telecom backup power and material handling equipment.

Based on growing traction, along with the requirement for longer product lifetime in these markets, Ballard undertook a product development program to increase durability of the fuel cell stack. Key among the various improvements implemented in this next generation product are modifications to increase robustness of the membrane electrode assembly frame, a critical core component of Ballard's fuel cells.

"Ballard's customers will benefit from lower overall system operating cost and maintenance requirements delivered by the extended operating hours of this enhanced fuel cell stack platform," said Kevin Colbow, Ballard's Director of Product Management. "We expect a 30-to-50 percent improvement in durability, depending on the application, thereby driving incremental market demand."

Featuring dynamic response, robust and reliable operation and an air-cooled architecture that enables simplified system design, the FCgen-1020ACS is a flexible product suitable for a wide variety of low power applications and hybrid system designs. The next generation FCgen-1020ACS has already been integrated into Ballard's ElectraGen™ direct hydrogen- and methanol-fuelled systems, which provide more cost-effective and environmentally-friendly solutions for telecom backup power applications than the alternatives of lead-acid batteries and diesel generators. In addition, Plug Power uses the FCgen-1020ACS fuel cell stack in its line of GenDrive® fuel cell products, which are designed as drop-in replacements for lead-acid batteries in electric lift trucks.