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Ballard receives Nisshinbo P.O. for development program to advance use of non-precious metal catalyst fuel cells in material handling

Ballard Power Systems has received a purchase order from Nisshinbo Holdings for a program to assess the potential development of fuel cell stacks using a Non Precious Metal Catalyst (NPMC) for use in commercial material handling applications. On 12 September, the two companies announced that they had successfully collaborated on development of the world’s first NPMC-based proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell product—the FCgen-1040. (Earlier post.)

The new 30-watt air-cooled fuel cell stack has possible uses in ultralight-weight applications such as laptop and cell phone chargers, and military soldier power devices. The NPMC is an innovative technology enabling a reduction in product cost through the use of significantly lower amounts of platinum.

As announced last week, we are interested in exploring uses for the NPMC-based product for various commercial applications. Building on the new FCgen-1040 stack, which we plan to launch in late-2017, we are starting a program to assess the potential incorporation of Non Precious Metal Catalyst technology into our existing FCgen-1020 air-cooled stack as well as our next-generation liquid-cooled stack. With this purchase order from Nisshinbo, a new multi-year Technology Solutions program will be initiated to work on this challenging next-step.

Both air-cooled and liquid-cooled fuel cell stacks are used to power fork lift equipment in the field. Our goal is to ultimately implement lower-cost NPMC-based air-cooled and liquid-cooled stacks into certain mobility applications, with an initial focus on the material handling space, where blue-chip brands such as Walmart and Amazon have demonstrated the strong value proposition offered by current fuel cell-powered forklift trucks operating in high throughput distribution center environments.

—Dr. Kevin Colbow, Ballard’s Vice President – Technology and Product Development


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