Ballard Power Systems, a world leader in developing, manufacturing and marketing PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) fuel cells, released its “Technology Roadmap” leading to a commercially viable fuel cell by 2010.
The Road Map, announced to coincide with the start of the National Hydrogen Association’s Annual Hydrogen Conference in Washington, D.C., maps out trends and targets in four areas critical for commercial adoption of automotive fuel cell technology:
Durability of 5,000 hours of lifetime. According to Ballard, 2,200 hours of durability is equivalent to 100,000 kilometers (62,150 miles) under regular driving conditions.
Cost of US $30/kW net. The DOE’s target cost for commercial introduction of a fuel cell system in 2010 is $45 USD/kW of net system power, divided between the fuel cell stack ($30 USD/kW net) and the supporting balance of plant ($15 USD/kW net). Ballard’s target is for the stack, and maps to the DOE’s.
Freeze Start capability to -30 ºC, in 30 seconds, to 50% rated power.
Volumetric Power Density of 2,500 Watts net/liter. Reducing volumetric power density reflects the ability to package the fuel cell stack into increasingly smaller spaces within a vehicle. Ballard’s target of 2,500 Watts Net/Liter is more aggressive than the DOE’s target of 2,000 Watts net/liter.
In February, Ballard pulled off a “Technology Hat Trick” (earlier post) by demonstrating a fuel cell stack that can start repeatedly from -20° C (-4° F) and operate for more than 2,000 hours at a substantially reduced cost with no performance tradeoff.