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Ballard manufactures one-millionth fuel cell MEA using lower-cost processes

Canadian-based Ballard Power Systems has produced its one-millionth membrane-electrode assembly (MEA), the proprietary core component of its proton-exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell, marking a milestone in the commercialization of hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Ballard’s automated manufacturing is driving down fuel cell product unit cost, enabling more competitive positioning against the incumbent technologies.

Improved fuel cell manufacturing productivity has resulted from several factors, the most significant being introduction of automated, continuous manufacturing in place of more discrete, labor-intensive processes.

For example, MEA lamination – in which key MEA component parts are cut and assembled – is now accomplished with new equipment designed to Ballard Power Systems’ exacting specifications.

The growth in production volumes, together with implementation of automated manufacturing processes, have contributed significantly to a 30% annual reduction in the cost of Ballard fuel cell products over the past two years.

These factors are expected to further reduce cost, enabling more aggressive competitive positioning of fuel cell systems in the market, as well as higher gross margins on product sales.

‘This is contributing to a stronger value proposition for Ballard fuel cells across the range of applications we are focused on,’ says Paul Cass, Vice President of Operations at Ballard Power Systems.

 

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