Ballard receives DOE award for cost reduction activities



Ballard Power Systems' material products division has won the 2011 Annual Merit Review Award from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The award recognizes Ballard's success in reducing manufacturing cost of gas diffusion layer (GDL) material, a critical component of the membrane electrode assembly (MEA) used in every Ballard fuel cell product.

Implementation of improved process control tools, installation of web-handling equipment together with other initiatives focused on the production process have facilitated high-volume production of GDL material at Ballard.

This has reduced the fabrication cost from $36 down to $16 per kilowatt of each proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell product. In addition, since 2008 improved production yields and reduced material scrap have increased capacity at the company's Lowell, MA plant by a factor of four.

Bill Foulds, President of Ballard's material products division said, 'Our GDL products are designed to meet the rigorous demands of a wide range of fuel cell applications, from kilowatt-scale backup power systems to megawatt-scale distributed generation solutions.

GDL cost reduction contributes directly to our corporate goal of lowering fuel cell product costs by a further 20-to-25% this year.'

2011 Annual Merit Review Award recipients were selected by a Peer Review Panel, following evaluation of the relative merits of various hydrogen and fuel cell projects.

The awards recognize outstanding achievements and significant contributions to the U.S. Department of Energy's Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program. The award to Ballard acknowledges the efforts of Jason Morgan, Principal Investigator for the DoE funded cost reduction program.

Ballard's material products division is the only major North American manufacturer of GDL fuel cell material and is a leading provider of engineered carbon fiber materials.

Fuel cells using GDL material provide zero-emission power for a variety of applications, thereby supporting public sector clean energy policy. Ballard is the sole commercial enterprise to receive a 2011 Annual Merit Review Award.

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