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31 May 2024

Ballard and Element 1 have developed cost-effective hydrogen solutions

Amy Power
Ballard and Element 1 have developed cost-effective hydrogen solutions

Through a brilliant collaboration, Ballard Power Systems and Element 1 have created a variety of hydrogen power solutions. The companies have achieved this breakthrough with the use of proprietary technology.

The technique the companies used to do this, was to combine Ballard’s FCwave 200kW fuel cell module with Element 1’s M/L18 hydrogen generator, which has the ability to produce 235kg of hydrogen each day. This innovative combination will lead to the production of high-purity hydrogen in the range of 0.7 to 2.2 barg.

Before this experiment, the typical pressure range of the FCwave hydrogen supply is 3.5 to 6.5 barg. However, the new low-pressure result that was recently achieved through this collaboration, was accomplished through applying Ballard’s software modifications to the operation of the system, that has no hardware modifications.

During this collaboration, the companies used a feedstock made up of methanol mixed with water and the hydrogen produced by the generators met ISO 14687-2019 standards that are put in place for PEM fuel cells. Furthermore, this was performed at a “fraction of the cost of compressed or liquid hydrogen.” Another benefit of this breakthrough, is that due to the use of methanol and water mix, the infrastructure and transportation challenges that are normally associated with a project like this, are eliminated.

This is not Ballard’s first project like this, as it was in 2022 that the company installed its 200kW FCwave fuel cell onboard Norled’s MF Hydra liquid hydrogen-powered ferry. This ferry would become known as the ‘first’ ferry in the world to use a PEM fuel cell for power. This fuel cell would run on liquid hydrogen.

Element 1’s Co-Founder and CEO, Dave Edlund, commented, ‘that if renewable methanol is used as a feedstock, “the carbon intensity of the resulting electrical power will be very low.”’

Edlund also said, “With a simple software upgrade, any deployed FCwave may be coupled to an M/L18 hydrogen generator to achieve immediate savings on operational costs.”

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