Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ballard's Backup Believers

The US DoD has joined Dantherm, Plug Power, and me as unconditional supporters of Ballard's 1020 ACS air-cooled stack. It has provided the joint development partnership team of Ballard and Plug an additional $3.5M to continue development of outdoor backup power system, primarily aimed at cell towers.

The incredibly simple air-cooled stack is the culmination of 4 generations and almost eight years of progress by Ballard - the 1020's entire balance of plant consists of a fan. Whereas Plug's historical installations have been reliable, they have all been based on Plug's own 5 kW stack, very often overkill coompared with ReliOn's 1 kW and current offerings from IdaTech and California upstart Altergy.

Hopefully the Plug-Ballard partnership will follow the lead of Dantherm Power in Denmark who yesterday issued a large order for Maxwell ultracaps to provide the immediate response for critical backup that fuel cells lack. The marriage of the Ballard 1020 and Maxwell ultracaps is certainly a match made in heaven. Whereas Plug hopes to have the new product in the field sometime in 2008, Dantherm has already been placing systems in Europe employing the Ballard stacks from its initial 100-unit order placed with Ballard last spring.

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