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Ballard Ships Its 500th ElectraGen™-ME Fuel Cell System For Telecom Backup Power

  • Reflects rapidly growing market for methanol-fuelled solutions

VANCOUVER, April 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ - Ballard Power Systems (NASDAQ: BLDP) (TSX: BLD) today announced shipment of its 500th methanol-fuelled telecom backup power system, since the Company expanded its product line in August 2012. Ballard is strongly positioned as the leader in the fuel cell sector for telecom backup power systems, offering both ElectraGen™-ME liquid fuelled methanol systems as well as ElectraGen™-H2 gaseous hydrogen fuelled systems.

Larry Stapleton, Ballard Vice President of Sales said, "This milestone highlights the growing traction we have been experiencing over the past two quarters with our telecom customers in key growth markets around the world."

In regions such as Southeast Asia and South Africa, where Ballard is actively engaged, electricity grids can be unreliable. As a result, telecom networks are vulnerable to frequent grid outages, impacting continuity of service to subscribers. In these situations, lead acid batteries and diesel generators are not necessarily a practical or financially attractive means of providing backup power, whereas fuel cell systems can offer a reliable, economic alternative in addition to being a clean energy solution.

In these and other geographies, beyond grid unreliability, power disruptions also occur as the result of natural disasters and extreme weather conditions. For instance, in the span of a few years, there have been numerous earthquakes in various parts of Asia, a catastrophic tsunami in Japan and Hurricane Sandy in the Caribbean and U.S. The resulting power disruptions from such events cause service outages in communication networks at critical times. This reality is putting a higher focus on the need for extended duration backup power solutions in telecom networks, which in turn is leading to a heightened interest in fuel cell systems, a proven solution for extended duration backup power.

This heightened interest has translated into growing demand for fuel cell telecom backup power solutions, both gaseous hydrogen fuelled as well as liquid methanol fuelled. In 2012 Ballard shipped approximately 400 ElectraGen™ backup power systems, comprised of 240 methanol fuelled and 160 hydrogen fuelled. Demand growth has continued in 2013 and, with an additional 260 methanol-fuelled systems in Q1 2013, Ballard has now shipped the Company's 500th methanol fuelled system, since the expansion of its product line to include ElectraGen™-ME last August.

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