Power Electronics

Automotive Fuel Cells Could Be Viable by 2010

Commercially viable fuel cell stack technology for hydrogen-powered vehicles can be demonstrated by 2010, according to a Technology “Road Map” released recently by Ballard Power Systems. The “Road Map,” announced to coincide with the start of the National Hydrogen Association’s Annual Hydrogen Conference in Washington, D.C., comprises four technology trendlines and targets for fuel cell stack durability, cost, freeze start and volumetric power density. It is widely agreed that demonstrating the ability to meet the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) targets for these four performance attributes is key to the successful commercialization of automotive fuel cell technology.

“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. 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,” said Dennis Campbell, Ballard’s president and CEO.

Ballard’s Technology “Road Map” is closely aligned with the performance targets and timeline set by the DOE in its Hydrogen, Fuel Cells and Infrastructure Technologies Program’s Multi-Year Research, Development and Demonstration Plan. The “Road Map” will serve as a yardstick for measuring Ballard’s progress over the next five years as it advances toward delivering a demonstration in 2010 of commercially viable automotive fuel cell stack technology with the following characteristics:

  • 5000 hr of lifetime
  • Freeze start capability to -30°C
  • Volumetric power density of 2500-W net/liter
  • Fuel cell stack cost of $30/kWnet at a volume of 500,000 units.

“Our targets are aggressive but achievable. 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,” said Campbell. “With our technology ‘road map’ we’ve set the course, a course to the post-oil hydrogen future.” Ballard’s release of its Technology “Road Map” is the latest in a series of recent developments in the advancement of fuel cell technology.

In February, Ballard announced significant progress in three elements critical to the commercialization of automotive fuel cell technology—freeze start capability, increased durability and cost reduction—a first-ever announcement of improvements in each area, in a single stack design, without any compromise in performance.

For more information, visit www.ballard.com or www.eere.energy.gov.

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