Ballard Power (TSX:BLD) today said its fuel cell systems performed exactly as they were designed to during Hurricane Sandy, providing electricity to the Bahamas mobile telephone network when the storm downed power lines and cut off grid power.
Ballard says during the three days in October that Hurricane Sandy passed over the Bahamas, each of the five kilowatt systems operated as needed to maintain consistent power.
Ballard’s Chief Technology Officer Dr. Christopher Guzy, said, “Hurricane Sandy was a devastating event for a great many people. In times of emergency, backup systems have to be reliable. We are certainly pleased that our ElectraGen fuel cell systems kept the communications network up and running for people in the Bahamas when they most needed it.”
Vancouver-based Ballard power soared to attention in the 90’s, when it was believed that hydrogen fuel cells were the green automotive solution of the future. But the once high-flying stock came crashing back to earth when auto manufacturers couldn’t make the economics work.
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The revamped company now concentrates, largely, on providing fuel cell power to things that don’t move, such as its FCgen fuel cell technology for telecommunications backup applications.
Ballard sudden relevance in power generation systems comes about because of the company’s recent acquisition of assets from IdaTech, a longtime Ballard customer, and from the company’s own Dantherm Power hydrogen systems.
The company is now backing up the power grid in places like Indonesia, where in August it announced it had has received purchase orders for 102 fuel cell power generation systems. Ballard said the systems will be used on networks of two wireless telecom customers in Indonesia to provide “reliable and cost-effective backup power in the event of grid outages.”
The death from toll Hurricane Sandy in the Caribbean is now at 71. Estimates on damage to property in the Bahamas exceeds $300-million, higher than last year’s Hurricane Irene.