Ballard Power Systems has received a follow-on purchase order from environmental and energy company Nisshinbo Holdings to progress a previously announced Technology Solutions programme to then next stage.

The Technology Solutions work resulted in the incorporation of Nisshinbo’s Non Precious Metal Catalyst (NPMC) into the world’s first NPMC-based proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell product, the 30 watt FCgen®-1040 fuel cell stack.

A subsequent Technology Solutions programme was announced in September to assess the potential for development of NPMC-based fuel cell stacks for use in commercial material handling applications. Blue chip brands such as Walmart and Amazon have demonstrated the strong value proposition offered by current fuel cell-powered forklift trucks operating in high-throughput distribution centers.

With successful completion of the assessment, the next stage announced yesterday will focus on certain performance and power density enhancements to support development of low cost NPMC-based fuel cell stacks for material handling applications.

“Our goal for this multi-year Technology Solutions programme is to expand the serviceable addressable market for fuel cell-powered forklifts and accelerate market adoption through the commercialisation of leading air-cooled and liquid-cooled fuel cell stacks that deliver against market requirements at the lowest possible cost,” said Dr. Kevin Colbow, Ballard’s Vice-President of Technology and Product Development. “NPMC-based stacks represent a step-change in PEM fuel cell technology by dramatically reducing the amount of platinum that is needed. And, since platinum currently contributes 10-to-15% of the cost of a fuel cell stack, NPMC technology offers the potential for meaningful cost savings.”