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Ballard’s Next-Gen Fuel Cell System for Backup Power Targets Telecom

Linda Hardesty

Ballard fuel cellBallard Power Systems launched the next-generation of its ElectraGen-ME backup power system, and the company is targeting the methanol-fueled system for use in the telecom market.

Ballard’s ElectraGen-ME has been driven by two distinct needs: (i) backup power for regular, even daily, power outages in markets with unreliable electricity grids; (ii) backup power for markets with reliable grids yet vulnerable to extended power outages in crisis situations, such as extreme weather conditions. These needs underpin Ballard’s growing shipment volumes to such markets as South Africa and Indonesia, where grids are unreliable, along with the Caribbean and Japan, where there is concern over potential weather- and tsunami-related events, respectively.

The next-gen product offers more than a 25 percent increase in system mean time between failures and a three-times increase in cycle life through upgrades to the fuel processor module, according to Ballard. The company has also increased the use of corrosion-resistant coatings on many system components and has made improvements to the fuel level sensor and fluid flow paths.

Finally, Ballard added functionality in system firmware, along with better component access and labeling. The methanol-fueled systems include a fuel reformer that converts HydroPlus (a methanol-water liquid fuel mixture) into hydrogen gas to power the fuel cell.



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