IN FOCUS: BALLARD POWER SYSTEMS AND ITS MANUFACTURING CAPABILITIES AND PRODUCTION FACILITIESThe alphaDIRECT Insight
We believe that the growing global interest in fuel cell power solutions for transportation is driven by the converging megatrends of decarbonization, renewable energy and electrification of transportation which is moving toward commercial scale. As demand and volumes grow, the manufacturing challenges are likely to increase and become an even more critical part of Ballard’s operating model. To accommodate the growing demand and, importantly, lower the cost of fuel cells for transportation, Ballard is undertaking a multi-pronged strategy to reduce the cost of its products while continuously improving their performance. This alphaDIRECT Management Series focuses on Ballard’s production facilities and manufacturing capabilities in Canada, the U.S. and Europe as well as its 49%-owned joint venture located in Weifang, China, which is licensed to manufacture Ballard’s next-generation LCS fuel stack and power modules. Once fully commissioned, the JV will have the annual capacity to power approximately 20,000 Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles or FCEVs. All of these joint factors are key aspects of the long-term growth strategy and we believe will be of increasing focus by investors as well as customers and suppliers.
Shawn Severson: First I would like to thank you, Jyoti, for taking the time to speak with us today. The last time that we spoke with Ballard Power Systems we discussed the company’s product evolution strategy. Today our focus will be on Ballard’s operations. Before we get started, could you give us a brief introduction of yourself and what brought you to Ballard?
Jyoti Sidhu: Certainly and thank you Shawn. I grew up in Punjab, India and my early education took place there. I migrated to Canada in 1988 and joined Ballard in 2000 as a production technician. I did my executive MBA at Simon Fraser University here in Vancouver and completed the operations management program at BCIT, while working at Ballard.
What attracted me to Ballard was the thought of making a difference in the world and leaving a legacy behind for generations to come. I have two children, so I want to make sure the world is safe for them and their future children. As the Vice President of Operations my current responsibilities at Ballard include environment, health and safety, quality and supply chain management. This includes production planning, purchasing, as well as warehouse logistics, production, facilities and maintenance.
Shawn Severson: Thank you for that, Jyoti. Before I jump into a discussion of operations, can you explain briefly what is driving the growing interest in fuel cell power solutions today, particularly in the transportation sector?
Jyoti Sidhu: Today, there are several megatrends converging in the world that are very favorable for zero-emission fuel cells. Specifically these include decarbonization, the need to improve air quality, movement to renewable energy as well as electrification of transportation.
The strongest fuel cell value proposition is in the Medium and Heavy Duty Motive or transportation space, particularly for use cases requiring long-range, rapid refueling, heavy payload, and route flexibility.
At the same time, at Ballard we have dramatically reduced the cost of our products, while simultaneously improving performance over the past decade. So, we can now offer strong zero-emission value propositions for heavy duty vehicle applications. And, many cities around the world have made commitments to curtail or even outright ban internal combustion engines in the coming years.