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Ballard launches high-power density fuel cell stack for vehicle propulsion; 4.3 kW/L; Audi partner

Ballard Power Systems launched the FCgen-HPS, a high-performance, zero-emission, proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell stack, to provide propulsion for a range of light-, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles in an industry-leading volumetric high-power density of 4.3 kilowatts per liter (4.3 kW/L). This marks another power density milestone for Ballard over decades of PEM fuel cell product innovation.

The FCgen-HPS was fully designed and developed by Ballard to stringent automotive standards in the company’s Technology Solutions program with Audi AG. Ballard currently holds the right to use the FCgen-HPS for a variety of applications, including bus, rail, marine, mining, construction and aerospace vehicles, along with stationary power applications.

Ballard also signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding with Audi to expand its right to use the FCgen-HPS in all applications, including commercial trucks and passenger cars.


FCgen-HPS high-performance fuel cell stack

In addition to its leading high-power density, the FCgen-HPS offers:

  • High power output: up to 140kW maximum power level, with scalability to multiple power blocks. It can be configured to different power outputs to meet customer requirements;

  • High efficiency of 52% at the beginning of life, based on the LHV;

  • High operating temperature: up to 95 ˚C maximum operating temperature, which allows for more efficient and smaller cooling systems; and

  • Rugged cold weather capabilities: -28 ˚C freeze start capability with fast power ramp.

The FCgen-HPS delivers significant value through advancements made by Ballard in membrane electrode assemblies, or MEAs, and carbon bipolar plates. While the FCgen-HPS establishes a new industry standard for power density, we continue to move the yard sticks at Ballard on stack design, with continuous improvements on power density, durability, operating parameters, freeze start capabilities, efficiency and total lifecycle costs. At Ballard, we believe we have industry-leading talent to design PEM fuel cell stacks and systems that offer best performance and value for our target markets.

—Dr. Kevin Colbow, Ballard CTO

Ballard and Audi expect to sign definitive agreements in 2020 formalizing the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding referenced above.



The stack in the Mirai is 3.1 kw/litre, so this represents a very worthwhile increase:

Of course we have not yet been told what the energy density of the stack in the new Mirai will be.

Toyota may have upped their game.


The Hyundai Nexo also uses a 3.1kWh/L pack:,climbs%20to%2060.4%20per%20cent.

Steve Reynolds

"High efficiency of 52% at the beginning of life..."

Does not sound very high efficiency.
Not any better than the best IC engines.

Ing. A.S.Stefanes

52% is a lot better than the best ICE


Engines produce pollution.


As Ballard say in their paper here:

fuel cell efficiency is one of many trade offs.

And without knowiing the exact details of how the efficiency is specified for two systems, comparisons are invalid.

So Hyundai claim 60% efficiency in the Nexo, and perhaps they traded density for that efficiency.

But I also have not managed to dig out whether they are talking about LHV etc as Ballard are.

And then there is peak efficiency and average efficiency, so that for instance high nominal efficiency ICE engines may have a way lower average efficiency.

Fuel cells mitigate some of those effects, at least against non-hybrids, by using the battery to provide peak power and so staying in the sweet spot more of the time.

IOW, I have not been able to dig out enough information to really know in detail what is going on! :-(

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