Ballard and Coleman Delay AirGen Portable Generator
Ballard Power Systems Inc. (Vancouver, BC) announced new delays with the AirGen portable fuel cell generator unit from Coleman Powermate Inc. (Aurora, IL), which will use Ballard’s alternative fuel cell energy technology. The AirGen is to be one of the first fuel cell consumer products for indoor use. Coleman and Ballard announced plans in January 2000 to collaborate on the development of portable and standby power products using Ballard® fuel cells. As part of the collaboration, Ballard and Coleman Powermate planned to produce 50 prototype units for initial product testing, and anticipated a first portable fuel cell product becoming available in 2002.
Ballard Chairman and CEO Firoz Rasul stated that Ballard is "disappointed" that problems with a component supplier has again forced Coleman Powermate to postpone plans to begin selling fuel-cell-powered portable generators. The project was previously slowed by regulatory delays unrelated to the fuel cells. "They've told us they are looking at alternatives as well as helping to work with the supplier who is having difficulty, and have a couple of paths they are pursuing," Rasul told analysts, declining to elaborate on what component or supplier was having problems. Rasul commented that Coleman stated it expects to have a solution to the most recent problem "soon," but he added, "We've stopped predicting when 'soon' might be."