After it had seemed that Ballard had given up on the hydrogen dream, it has been revealed that the company has extinguished plans for the automotive fuel cell sector but has not given up on the hydrogen concept altogether, and is focusing on other avenues of commercial fuel cell production.

Shareholders of Ballard Power Systems Inc. voted recently to approve the sale of the company's automotive fuel cell business to Daimler AG and Ford Motor Co. in a move that the company said will help shorten its time to profitability.

John Sheridan, Ballard Chief Executive, explained, “It enables Ballard now to concentrate on clean energy fuel cell products for commercial markets.”

Sheridan indicated the automotive fuel cell business was too expensive and too far away with long and uncertain timelines to commercialisation, while the company already had commercial markets including forklifts, back up power and co-generation at present.

“Our focus is areas where we're going to drive fuel cell products and make money. It really frees up management and our resource base at the company to really concentrate on these commercial markets,” he said.

Sheridan said the deal, which shareholders voted 97.8% in favour of, has already received the necessary approval from Daimler and Ford and was expected to close on 31st January 2008.

Though best-known for making the fuel cells that power cars, the company has seen recent success in selling fuel cells for other applications including forklifts and backup power generators and signed several deals in recent months.