Hydrogen and Fuel Cells: "An Industry on the Move" in the Clean Energy Game
Snapshot of Hydrogenics (TSX: HYG), Ballard (NASDAQ:BLDP)
New York, NY, Point Roberts, WA - July 9, 2013 (Investorideas.com renewable energy stocks newswire) Taylor Van Zant of Investorideas.com. , an investor research portal specializing in sector research for independent investors, reports on the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell market and the recent Hydrogen + Fuel Cell C Conference (HFC 2013 ) (http://www.hfc2013.com/), held in Vancouver June 16th - 19th, 2013.
Clean, renewable energy continues to be a growing industry as more and more countries across the globe are forced, or choose, to implement more environmentally conscious energy plans. In this renewable energy emergence market Hydrogen and Fuel cell technology is fast becoming a rising star.
This year, the sixth Hydrogen + Fuel Cell Conference took place at the Vancouver Convention Center, hosting some of the leading developers and innovation in the Hydrogen and Fuel cell industry as well as some high profile public companies showcasing their latest developments.
The British Columbia Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Investment is promoting, and with good reason, the Province to investors as the home to the world's third-largest clean technology cluster. Dozens of fuel cell companies and research organizations are located in B.C such as the National Research Council Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation (NRC-IFCI); the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association; the Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation; UBC's Clean Energy Research Centre; NuCellSys; Powertech Labs; and Westport Innovations.
With roughly 70 per cent of Canada's fuel cell sector centered in or around Metro Vancouver, the city made a great stage for the HFC conference and researchers and industry leaders from around the world were happy to be a part of such a large scale promotion of this lesser known industry.
Fuel Cell technology implementation has faced the obstacles of the recession in the last few years and the obvious troubles related to cost efficiency, but the industry is now making a strong recovery and proving to be beneficial to other sectors of the green energy industry.
A little about Hydrogen and Fuel Cells:
There are a variety of benefits to using fuel cells, and especially Hydrogen based ones, as fuel cells have a higher efficiency than diesel or gas engines and most fuel cells operate silently, compared to internal combustion engines. This makes them ideal for use within buildings such as hospitals or on military compounds across the globe. Fuel cells can eliminate pollution caused by burning fossil fuels; for hydrogen fuelled fuel cells, the only by-product at point of use is water. If the hydrogen comes from the electrolysis of water driven by renewable energy, then using fuel cells eliminates greenhouse gases over the whole cycle. Fuel cells do not need conventional fuels such as oil or gas and can therefore reduce economic dependence on oil producing countries, creating greater energy security for the user nation. Since hydrogen can be produced anywhere where there is water and a source of power, generation of fuel can be distributed and does not have to be grid-dependent. The use of stationary fuel cells to generate power at the point of use allows for a decentralized power grid that is potentially more stable. Another military feature of some low temperature fuel cells (PEMFC, DMFC) is there low heat transmission which makes them ideal for covert military applications. Higher temperature fuel cells produce high-grade process heat along with electricity and are well suited to cogeneration applications (such as combined heat and power for residential use). Operating times are much longer than with batteries, since doubling the operating time needs only doubling the amount of fuel and not the doubling of the capacity of the unit itself. Unlike batteries, fuel cells have no "memory effect" when they are getting refueled. The maintenance of fuel cells is also much simpler than other engines or batteries since there are fewer moving parts in the system.
As this conference in Vancouver demonstrated through a variety of well informed panels with specialists and company heads, there are no shortage of benefits to using fuel cells as a source of clean renewable energy, but the true purpose of the conference was to showcase the momentum of the industry. This industry has recovered greatly from its fall of the past few years and is showing forward momentum with an almost limitless amount of possibilities.
Some of the industry leaders pushing this charge, as well as helping with sponsoring and supporting the HFC in Vancouver are below:
Hydrogenics (TSX: HYG) trading at $15.80 up $1.30 on a volume of 7,036 shares is one of the top companies to watch in this growing sector.
Hydrogenics Corporation is a leading developer and manufacturer of hydrogen generation and hydrogen-based power modules and received the "Innovator of the Year" award from the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association ("CHFCA") at the HFC conference. This CHFCA accolade recognizes an organization that exemplifies a long-term commitment to advancing the status of hydrogen and fuel cells in Canada.
"The Hydrogenics team is extremely honored to be recognized by our industry peers in this manner," said Daryl Wilson, President & CEO of Hydrogenics. "Meeting together in Vancouver, we discussed the increasing interest in hydrogen as a solution for energy storage and power generation across the globe. Clearly there is momentum here that was not the case just a few years ago, and we are proud to be positioned as a leading player in the space. For Canada and the world, Hydrogenics is pleased to be advancing the case for using hydrogen as a clean, renewable solution for humanity's ever-expanding energy demand."
Hydrogenics Corporation is a world leader in engineering and building the technologies required to enable the acceleration of a global power shift. Headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, Hydrogenics provides hydrogen generation, energy storage and hydrogen power modules to its customers and partners around the world. Hydrogenics has manufacturing sites in Germany, Belgium and Canada and service centers in Russia, China, India, Europe, the US and Canada.
Ballard (NASDAQ:BLDP) trading at $1.86 rising $0.01 or 0.54% on a volume of 242,621 shares, was another main presenter and rising star of the conference with the release of their new ElectraGen-ME backup power system.
"This new product will strengthen the value proposition for customers, with a higher reliability, lower cost solution," said Tony Cochrane, Ballard's Director of Product Management for Telecom Backup Power, in a press release.
The ElectraGen platform, a small-scale PEM fuel cell with power output of either 2.5 or 5 kilowatts, appears to be a repackaged version of Idatech's methanol-based PEM fuel cell product, which were also designed to provide backup power for telecom sites. Ballard acquired the Portland, OR-based Idatech last year.
Like Idatech, Ballard's ElectraGen platform is designed to provide backup power for regular, even daily, power outages in markets with unreliable electricity grids and backup power for markets with grids vulnerable to extended power outages.
In particular, the ElectraGen system is better suited for "extended runtime" backup power needs as compared to batteries and diesel generators.
Ballard Power Systems good news kept coming as the company announced during the conference that, with a commitment of investment funding to support field trials, the South African Government has reinforced its support of growth in that country's fuel cell industry. Godfrey Oliphant, South Africa's Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources, made the announcement during his presentation to attendees of the "Hydrogen + Fuel Cells 2013 International Conference and Exhibition".
As part of its beneficiation strategy and the drive to improve on the uses of platinum, the South African Government, through its funding institutions, will partner with Ballard Power Systems and Anglo American Platinum with initial field trials of a new methanol-fuelled 'home generator' prototype product designed for use in off-grid residential applications. The product will encompass a complete fuel cell system, including fuel cell stack, methanol fuel processor and other components needed to meet the market requirements of rural electrification within a local mini-grid. The home generator product is going to be developed as a means of addressing the many African households in rural communities that are currently unable to economically access the grid as a result of distance or terrain.
Godfrey Oliphant, South Africa's Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources said, "We are very pleased to support the field trials of the home generator product being developed by Anglo American Platinum and Ballard Power Systems. Projects such as this are key in the development of new technologies which will stimulate the creation of jobs for the South African economy."
Platinum-based fuel cells provide a significant economic and environmental development opportunity for South Africa by facilitating the provision of clean, reliable and cost-effective power. South Africa holds 75% of the world's supply of platinum, a key component of Ballard's proton exchange membrane fuel cell products.
"Anglo's involvement in fuel cell market adoption extends beyond the implications for platinum utilization to the potential transformational impact fuel cells could have on the economy in South Africa ," said Andrew Hinkly, Anglo American Platinum's Executive Head of Marketing. "Fuel cell-based product deployments enable the platinum beneficiation strategy in Africa and create jobs in a key growth sector for the economy."
Karim Kassam, Vice President, Business & Corporate Development added, "We are excited by the progress under our joint development agreement with Anglo American Platinum. Work to date has included a market feasibility study, testing of a proof-of-concept system based on existing technology and initial work on a prototype system."
Systems deployed in initial field trials during 2014 will provide valuable data to support further development of the prototype systems. Upon successful completion of the product development phase, plans are to proceed to a pilot test of more than two hundred units in villages across rural South Africa in 2015.
About Ballard Power Systems
Ballard Power Systems provides clean energy fuel cell products enabling optimized power systems for a range of applications. Products deliver incomparable performance, durability and versatility. To learn more about Ballard, please visit www.ballard.com.
This release contains forward-looking statements product development activities, market adoption for our products and business development opportunities. These forward-looking statements reflect Ballard's current expectations as contemplated under section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Any such forward-looking statements are based on Ballard's assumptions relating to its financial forecasts and expectations regarding its product development efforts, manufacturing capacity, and market demand.
These statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause Ballard's actual results to be materially different, including general economic and regulatory changes, detrimental reliance on third parties, successfully achieving our business plans and achieving and sustaining profitability. For a detailed discussion of these and other risk factors that could affect Ballard's future performance, please refer to Ballard's most recent Annual Information Form. Readers should not place undue reliance on Ballard's forward-looking statements and Ballard assumes no obligation to update or release any revisions to these forward looking statements, other than as required under applicable legislation.
Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation, ("AFCC") is a Burnaby, BC based joint venture of Daimler AG and Ford Motor Company developing fuel cell modules for automotive applications. This company featured many of their new fuel celled powered cars and transports at the conference, showing the reality aspect of this technology and how developed and fully functional said technology currently is.
The foundation of AFCC was preceded by the Fuel Cell Alliance which was formed in 1997 between Daimler, Ford and Ballard to jointly advance the commercialization of automotive fuel cell technology. Following a successful 10-year alliance, Ballard sold its automotive fuel cell assets to Daimler and Ford in 2008. These assets are now resident in AFCC.
Today, Daimler and Ford are the only two automotive companies jointly developing fuel cell technology thereby avoiding the duplication of R&D efforts. Together, they have more than 280 fuel cell vehicles on the road.
As the birthplace of the automotive fuel cell, British Columbia is the natural home for AFCC due to the large concentration of fuel cell experts in the area and the province's commitment to fuel cell research and innovation.
On the public investor side of things Ford Motors Co., (NYSE:F) was trading at $16.81 rising $0.11 on a volume of 29,248,548 shares and Dailmer AG (OTC: DDAIF) traded up at $62.46 moving $0.80 on a volume of $23,611 shares.
It's clear after attending this conference that this field of development and technology is fast becoming a star of the renewable energy world and those interested in any serious long term investment, both financially and environmentally, need to start taking a close watch on the industry….as well as possibly attend next years HFC conference in the beautiful city of Vancouver.
Taylor Van Zant
Writer/ Reporter for Investorideas.com
Linkedin: Taylor Van Zant
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