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Ballard signs follow-on technology solutions agreement for MEA development with leading global automotive OEM

Ballard Power Systems signed a follow-on Technology Solutions contract with an unnamed leading global automotive OEM. Under the contract Ballard will provide expertise in proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell technology in order to advance the customer’s membrane electrode assembly (MEA) development program related to future versions of its engine for fuel cell vehicles.

This follow-on contract involves Technology Solutions work that began with this customer in 2014, including technology transfer. MEAs are a key component of each PEM fuel cell and the MEA-related work in this customer program is being undertaken by Ballard engineers and test technicians in conjunction with the OEM’s in-house fuel cell technical team. The program is expected to be completed later in 2016.

Fuel cells consist of an MEA and two flow-field plates. Each MEA consists of two electrodes (the anode and the cathode) with a very thin layer of catalyst bonded to either side of a proton exchange membrane (PEM). Hydrogen flows through channels in the flow-field plates to the anode, where the platinum catalyst promotes its separation into protons (hydrogen ions) and electrons. The free electrons produced at the anode are conducted in the form of a usable electric current through the external circuit. At the cathode, oxygen from the air, electrons from the external circuit and protons combine to form water and heat. To obtain the desired amount of electrical power, individual fuel cells are combined to form a fuel cell stack.

This latest contract is indicative of the continued growth in interest we are seeing in fuel cell development programs. Ballard is uniquely positioned to help customers by means of compelling bundled technology solutions that leverage our expertise and industry-leading IP portfolio.

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

The mandate of Ballard’s Technology Solutions group is to help customers solve difficult technical and business challenges in their PEM fuel cell programs. Ballard delivers this through customized, bundled technology solutions, including specialized engineering services, access to the company’s deep intellectual property (IP) portfolio and know-how, as well as the supply of technology components.

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