Ballard Power Systems launched its next generation fuel cell stack, FCgen-1020ACS, with a number of enhancements for the telecom backup power and material handling commercial markets.
The fuel cell stack was originally designed for integration into a complete system to provide short duration telecom backup power in the event of electrical grid failure. But Ballard recognized the product’s ability to service other market segments, including extended duration telecom backup power and material handling equipment.
Based on growing traction, along with the need for longer product lifetime in these markets, Ballard increased the durability of the fuel cell stack by making modifications to the membrane electrode assembly frame. The air-cooled architecture also enables a simplified system design.
The FCgen-1020ACS has already been integrated into Ballard’s ElectraGen direct hydrogen- and methanol-fueled systems for telecom backup power applications. In addition, Plug Power uses the FCgen-1020ACS fuel cell stack in its line of GenDrive fuel cell products, which are designed as drop-in replacements for lead-acid batteries in electric lift trucks.
For its newest retail distribution center in Wilmer, Texas, Ace Hardware will deploy 65 GenDrive fuel cell units from Plug Power for its fleet of electric lift trucks. A spokesman for Plug Power said in a busy distribution center, the lead acid batteries in forklifts and other electric vehicles have to be changed out and recharged two or three times a day. With the fuel cell units, Ace Hardware eliminates the need to charge batteries from an electrical source, saving money on electricity and reducing peak power costs.