The fuel cells are ready. Do you have the application? Then Hydrogenics Corp. is looking for you. Specifically, the company wants to enlist compatible mobility OEMs and component providers in hydrogen storage, electrical storage devices, power conditioning, traction controllers and drives, and fuel-cell components in its Hydrogenics Partner Program.
Substantial cost reductions in the company's HyPM line of fuel-cell power modules have accelerated the market window for certain off-road light mobility markets. By teaming with other companies, Hydrogenics hopes to use this technology to develop fuel-cell-based power trains for these off-road vehicles in the sub-automotive power range—typically 50 kW.
"Fuel cells are no longer a laboratory phenomenon, and Hydrogenics will work with OEM partners who are interested in incorporating fuel cells into their advanced product offerings," said Pierre Rivard, Hydrogenics president and CEO. The company expects HyPM modules to find applications in utility markets like airport ground support, materials handling, underground mining, grounds maintenance, and the military. But first, it needs partners.
So far, the fuel cells have made homes in forklifts through a project funded by Sustainable Develop-ment Technology Canada with the NACCO Materials Handling Group. They also have been used in light utility vehicles through cooperative work with John Deere ePower Technologies. Funded by the U.S. Air Force, a 20-kW module can be found in a hybrid bus in Hawaii for the state-run High Technology Development Corp. And, 13 modules have been delivered to other companies, with confirmed orders for eight more HyPM 10-kW modules in other applications.
The company believes that fuel cells are an emerging market because of several key benefits. Hydrogen fuels the HyPM modules, so the only exhaust is water and moist air, eliminating pollution. The growing desire to reduce the reliance on foreign oil supplies and the increased global deregulation of the energy industry are driving many companies to look to fuel cells as a part of their vehicular strategies as well.