Ballard Power Systems is expanding its range of PEM fuel cell stacks with a new type called FCgen-HPS, which is suitable for a range of light, medium and heavy-duty vehicles, but can also be installed in marine, rail, mining and aviation vehicles, for example.
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The new fuel cell stack with a maximum power of 140 kW and a volumetric power density of 4.3 kW per liter was developed by Ballard in cooperation with Audi. Under a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding signed on the same day, the German luxury carmaker will receive the right to use the FCgen-HPS in all applications including commercial vehicles and cars. The memorandum of understanding is to be formalised with a final agreement before the end of this year.
According to the Canadian fuel cell company, the performance of the new PEM fuel cell stack is the result of advances in membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) and carbon bipolar plates. The FCgen-HPS can withstand an operating temperature of up to 95 degrees Celsius and, at the other end of the scale, is still “ready to start with a rapid increase in performance” at -28 degrees Celsius, as Ballard writes in an accompanying press release.
Company CEO Randy MacEwen notes that there is a growing awareness that fuel cell systems are well suited to decarbonise a range of mobile applications that have been difficult to decarbonise in the past, such as buses, trucks, trains and ships that require high payload, range and rapid refuelling. “These use cases typically feature return-to-base depot refuelling, which reduces the challenge of scaling hydrogen refuelling infrastructure. The FCgen-HPS adds an important high-power density fuel cell stack to Ballard’s current product line-up, supporting our efforts to penetrate these large addressable markets, while also improving our long-term positioning for future motive applications, including passenger cars and urban air mobility”.
With Audi, Ballard has had an automotive partner at its side since 2013. In 2018, the duo had extended their cooperation in the field of fuel cells by 3.5 years until August 2022. As part of the HyMotion program, which has already been extended several times, Ballard Power Systems is supporting Audi, among other things, in the introduction of small-series production of fuel cell vehicles.
The German luxury carmaker is responsible for FC development for the entire Volkswagen Group. Audi’s fuel cell competence centre is located in Neckarsulm, Baden-Württemberg. The most recent presentation of a fuel cell concept dates back to 2016 when Audi introduced the h-tron, a sporty H2 car with a range of up to 600 kilometres.
Update 31 October 2020: Ballard Power Systems and Audi have now formalised their Memorandum of Understanding for Audi to receive the right to use the new FCgen-HPS PEM fuel cell stack in all applications with a final agreement as announced above.
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