Ballard Power Systems develops fuel cell generators in African rural markets

Ballard-fuel-cells

Ballard Power Systems develops fuel cell generators in African rural markets

Greentech Lead Africa: Ballard Power Systems, a provider
of fuel cell technology, in partnership with Anglo American Platinum Limited,
has completed the first phase of the fuel cell home generator work for the
African market.

Ballard Power Systems has signed a Product Development
Agreement related to fuel cell-powered electric generators for the African rural
home market. 

Under the agreement, Anglo American Platinum has committed to fund development
and testing of the planned home generator product, which will be capable of
providing primary power to homes in remote African communities that are without
access to the electrical grid.

Work to date has included a market feasibility study,
testing of a proof-of-concept system based on existing technology from Ballard
and Dantherm Power, Ballard’s backup power company, and initial work on a
prototype system. 

“This is a key initiative, as part of our commitment to beneficiation in South
Africa. It will create jobs, deliver clean energy to parts of Africa that go
without power today, and of course promote a product that uses platinum,” said
Andrew Hinkly, executive head – Commercial for Anglo American Platinum.”

The home generator product is being developed as a means
of addressing the many African households in rural communities that are
currently unable to economically access the grid as a result of distance or
terrain.

The home generator will run on readily available methanol
fuel, utilizing an integrated fuel reformer. Ballard is providing fuel reformer
and fuel cell stack technology and Dantherm Power will provide the remaining
system components needed for the finished product. 
Once Ballard has completed development of a prototype system meeting commercial
product requirements, the companies will undertake further field trials,
potentially leading to the manufacture, distribution and support of a
commercial product for the African market. The low-cost fuel reformer being
developed for the home generator will also represent an important evolutionary
step for the methanol fuel cell products recently acquired by Ballard from
IdaTech. 

John Sheridan, President and CEO of Ballard Power Systems said, “We are excited
by the progress to date under our agreement with Anglo American Platinum. The
agreement is clear evidence of their commitment to fuel cells and will enable
the development of an integrated small-scale stationary power system, which
could have a transformational impact in South Africa and beyond.”

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